How did we get here?

February 6, 2018

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.

21 comments on “How did we get here?
  1. robin rue says:

    It’s great to look back on old photos sometimes. Imagine if you knew back then where you’d be now?

  2. Alli Smith says:

    I love looking at old photos and reminiscing! Some of my friends are life-long and others have come into my life for a short time and I have no idea where they are now. One thing is for sure, time does fly! Seems like yesterday I was in my 20’s.

  3. Amber Myers says:

    This was such a sweet post. I think it’s wonderful that you volunteered for this organization. I am so glad help and cures for AIDS has come so far. It’s always nice to look at old photos.

  4. JEanette says:

    Reminiscing is always something I like to do. There’s definitely been ups and downs in my life but looking back at old pictures brings back so many wonderful memories.

  5. Jeanette says:

    This world needs more emotional support! Maybe if we had more people like you, striving to help others, there would be less violence and more contentment. It’s amazing how fast life goes by and how quickly things change.

  6. Haralee says:

    Life coming full circle. What we do. It is fun and sad to look at old pictures. Recently I was thinking of the aids epidemic and the misconceptions at that time before there was even a name for the disease.

  7. I remember the AIDS epidemic well. Now our country faces another epidemic, another where stigma rears its ugly head. People are people and all need emtional support.

  8. Beth Havey says:

    When I did my post this week, I feel into lots of old photos and just loved it. I’m blessed.

  9. Heather says:

    Its funny how the things we go through earlier in life prepare us for the bigger steps we take later in life. Its also fun to look back at old memories…sometimes fun, sometimes sad.

  10. Adrienne says:

    How great it is to remember the impact that you made on those that you volunteered with (and that they made on you, too!). I’m sure you touched many lives and helped provide a lot of comfort to those struggling with such a painful disease.

  11. Sarah Bailey says:

    What some memories this photo brought back to you both good and bad. It is amazing how we look back and wonder about things in the years to come.

  12. Kelly Reci says:

    Can you believe 1989 was already three decades ago? How time flies but this photo must have really brought you down memory lane.

  13. Pam says:

    Looking back at old photos is always bittersweet. You remember the good times and sometimes wonder how things turned out the way they did.

  14. Farida says:

    Keeping photographs for posterity is something I love doing. The moment we look at a picture, wonderful including not-so-pleasant memories will start to flood our minds! It’s a good way to reminisce the yesteryears and a good conversation topic.

  15. Photos are indeed great memory reminders. Time flies so fast and many things happen in a blink of an eye. Your experience is truly a memorable one.

  16. Mimi green says:

    ThT is why I always take a ton of pictures. I love to look back and reflect.

  17. Looking at old photos is so much fun. I love to relive memories from the past with my husband and kids. We do it regularly.

  18. I was just browsing at my kids toddler days photo this morning and thought “Where did the time go?” The time fly by so quickly that sometimes I want to hold on to it and stop my children from growing old.

  19. Sara Welch says:

    I need to go get my old photos out. This makes me miss old times for sure.

  20. Sarah Honey says:

    Love looking at pictures and taking a walking down memory lane. What a great cause to volunteer for!

  21. Jess says:

    What a difficult task to volunteer into. The group like this where I grew up was of similar size in 2002/2004. I volunteered from time to time when in high school, more so in the way of providing a laugh with theatrical skits at some of their gatherings rather than emotional supoort. What an amazing group, what stood out was their love and kindness for not only one another but anyone they encountered.

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