40 years ago the first cases of AIDS were detected in the US. 4 men diagnosed with Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (also referred to as PCP) in Los Angeles. It started as an unusual and rare form of pneumonia and soon became one of the leading symptoms of HIV infection. I know all too well the seriousness of this illness. My past partner was one of millions of people living with AIDS. He has since passed, becoming one of 700.000 people to die with the disease.
HIV is a strange infection, it changes and mutates from infection to infection. No 2 people experience it the same. Although the medications have gotten better and people are living longer with it. More people get and stay undetectable (the amount of virus being so low it can’t be detected in a blood test) It’s still there. People are still getting infected. UNDETECTABLE DOES NOT EQUAL CURED! Though there are medications now that can keep you undetectable and keep you from spreading the virus. It can come back at any time. Now there are even medications a negative person can take to keep them from getting infected if they have unsafe sex with a positive person. Medications were a constant battle for us. New and improved meds came out all the time. They would work for a while, he even got undetectable once, it didn’t last long.
I’ve never read a memoir, and probably won’t again. This was a once in a life time event for me. Anyway, I’d heard bits and pieces of Brandon’s story and when I heard he’d written a book, I knew I had to read it. This book is raw and honest and full of survival and eventually hope.
I have a deep admiration for this man, a professional, a journalist, and public figure here in Arizona (and a few other states in past years) for, not only slaying his demons, but also for coming out and sharing his struggles with sexuality, abuse and addiction.
As someone who has had my own struggle with alcohol and sexuality, I came away from this book with a new respect for anyone who has gone through the struggles of addiction. Brandon has a podcast and YouTube channel called Escaping Rock Bottom. Listen to it! It’s amazing.
For my mom, and many others in the country, 2020 was a living hell. Watching my dad slowly decline and eventually passing away (he didn’t die of covid). Covid took it’s toll on a lot of us and things we love. Including baseball.
Every year, for a lot of years, my parents went to the Arizona Diamondbacks home opening game. For the last few years they haven’t been able to go because of my dad’s failing health and mobility. Last year my mom and I were talking about a future without my dad and I made her a promise, If it turned out to be just the 2 of us come baseball season, I would take her to opening day, and I did.
My mom has been a baseball fan her whole life. Going to Dodger games with her dad when she was a kid. The when I was a kid we went to Angels games and later Padre games.
A few years ago, we were leaving a Diamondbacks game and we ran into Joe Garagiola Sr. Well that made my mom’s day. She got to meet her hero. Do you think anyone of us took any pictures? Nope! This past Friday was the season home opener and guess who we ran into….Joe Garagiola Jr. Sr passed away a few years ago. I told my mom she HAD to talk to him. So she got up the nerve and told him the story of meeting his dad, her hero.
What do you think of when you think of Arizona? Like a lot of people you probably think of desert and heat. Well we definitely do have those things but what people sometimes don’t know is that we have mountains and snow. Arizona is home to 3 ski resorts. Mount Lemon, Snowbowl and Sunrise. The Sunrise ski resort is about an hour from where I live.
We are currently under and winter storm warning. Have been since yesterday. Yesterday we got about 2 inches of snow, not a lot but today we’re expected to get about a foot. As long as it holds off until I get home from work at 2:00.
I ordered a hoodie from one of my favorite author’s merchandise shop and it came today. Well they sent me a regular crew neck and not the hoodie, so I sent Phil an email, just too make them aware of the mix up and I even said I would keep the one they sent because the price is the same, no biggy. I said I just wanted them to know. Phil sent me an email back, asked for a pic of the sweatshirt they sent and said they would send out the correct hoodie. I wasn’t asking them to replace it, It really isn’t a big deal.
My point…well there’s a couple, #1, He’s the sweetest human alive and #2…So many times people are quick to complain and be rude and demand a replacement or refund. I deal with it all day long. 99% of the time, if you’re just polite and explain the problem, the person on the other end will be polite right back. You never know, you may be the first person to not be a jerk all day.
Last night, I got an email saying the replacement has been shipped. I still don’t know if they want the mistake sweatshirt back. I will have to email Phil again and ask him. I’ll gladly ship it back.
We’ve finally made it to December! The final stretch in what has been a very long year. I hope you all came out of it relatively unscathed.
For many of us, this has been a year of learning. About ourselves and others. We’ve seen some good and some bad. Some have lost loved ones. Some have lost friends. Either because of Covid or by other means. One thing I have learned, not just this year but in years and months leading up to 2020, is to watch what people say and things people post. These things speak volumes. The way someone speaks to you shows more about them than it does you. It took a while but after one confrontation early this year I decided I needed to take a step back, so I could see things more clearly. I still wasn’t ready to let go though. Even after my integrity and character were attacked. I’m a slow bloomer I suppose. So…After the 3rd, and final, confrontation, I took the final step back and closed the doors.
So, going into the new year, if I’ve learned anything, It’s to be kind. Speak kindly to people. Just because someone isn’t as intelligent as you, doesn’t converse the way you think they should, doesn’t make them any less of a person and undeserving of kind words.
In a year where everything seems to have changed, people are still getting sick, jobs and schools have changed things up a bit. There are still things to be thankful for. I hope all reading this are heathy and as are those closest to you all.
I’m thankful for….
I’ve been lucky in that my job hasn’t been affected. I am an essential worker. So for me it’s been business as usual.
I am thankful that my family is safe and healthy.
What I am most thankful for? My church family. Never in my life have we had such love showered on us. When my dad passed away late last month these amazing people stepped in and took care of everything for his open house.
My incredible friends who love unconditionally. I can’t imagine life without my girl squad.
What a week this has been. My last post was about the end of life and that time has come. My dad left us at 4am this morning. My mom woke me up and my first thought was “thank you Jesus” because now he is at rest. He has his perfect heavenly body. Completely healed and the best of all…He is with Jesus, whom he loved so much.
Our church family has been with us every step of the way and I couldn’t ask for better people in my life. So now mom and I carry on together. We’re sad because he isn’t with us anymore but rejoicing because he is in the arms of Jesus, where he’s wanted to be for so long.
So…Here’s to ya dad. Love you and we will miss you but we’ll see you again one day.
And above all…thank you for being the dad you didn’t have to be…
I don’t know who dying is harder on, the one who is at the end of their life or the ones watching it happen. Waiting for the last breath to be taken.
It’s crazy how quickly life can take a turn. We’ve been watching my dad’s decline for several months now but it seems that all of a sudden things are coming to an end. This where we’re at this week. My dad has been coded as actively dying. Hospice is coming every day now. We are keeping him comfortable. He is pretty much comatose now. We are just waiting.
Life is fragile. Take nothing for granted. Hold your loved ones close. This is our new normal.