Fall 1989 Aris Project Emotional Support Volunteer Training
My phone pinged in with a text the other morning as I was looking out at the sunshine at Half Moon Bay (Calif.) It was gay husband, sending me this 30-year old photo.
It was taken at the end of the Aris Project training I did in 1989 to prepare to be an emotional support volunteer for people with AIDS or HIV. Looking back it’s obvious now that the training was one of the things that was preparing me for my work at A Healing Spirit. But back then, I thought I was just taking on a new activity, giving back. I was only 38 years old. Young.
The training was intense and emotional. I cried all the way through it. But it’s where i met gay hubby, who was one of my trainers. The one who would walk by me and say, “just keep crying…” Good advice, by the way.
And my pod mama, who remains in my life. And where I connected with Patrick, who just came over for a visit the other day and the re-connection was easy, even though we hadn’t seen each other in so many years.
Looking at that photograph I see so many familiar faces whose names I won’t call out. Some are gone, to AIDS or something else. It’s been 30 years, after all. Some are still here, even though I suspected they’d be gone by now. Some have disappeared into the world–I have no idea what happened to them. A few are Facebook friends. Gay hubby is a daily constant and through him and Facebook I keep up with beautiful pod mama, seeing her once in a great while.
I look at the faces and think “oh, so young” and then wonder how three decades could go by so fast and how we ended up in this place, our senior years.
That is, those of us who survived. Those dear faces of those who didn’t also capture me. Of course, we knew they were HIV+ at the time, at least most of the time. We also knew that AIDS was a death sentence back in those days.
But not any more. Now, 30 years later, it’s possible to live with AIDs and Aris Project and the need for organizations like it is gone. That is a good thing.
So many memories captured in that photograph. Sweet, bittersweet. And part of a full life. Looking back, it’s clear that this was one of the important steps on the way to conceiving my new business.that provides support for healing: A Healing Spirit.
Looking back….how did we get here? By living a full life….and more than a little luck.
For your reference gay hubby is on the lower left, second row from the bottom, second man in. Patrick is on the lower right, bottom row, navy blue shirt. Pretty pod mama is on the right, third row up in a red shirt and pendant, next to a woman in a vest. And very young me is on the right in a turquoise long sleeved top, dark brown hair, three people to the left of pretty pod mama.