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CHRISTMAS LETTER. Once again, I've posted our Christmas letter on the Internet. It may not be as personal as holding it in your hand--but it's a lot prettier on the net!
18 December 2004
His name was Clifford. He didn't like having his picture taken. I didn't know him well. I met him through the Sacramento PFLAG and we attended 3 different Pride marches in San Francisco as part of the same group. I also worked with him at two Pride events in Sacramento, where he confessed that he liked Steve's message, he just didn't like to hear him sing.
He was a good friend of my friend Kathleen, who heads up Sacramento's PFLAG. He was like a second son to her. Their love for each other was palpable, as I watched her march up Market Street in San Francisco's Pride March, hand in hand with Clifford and one of the other guys from PFLAG. Mom with her kids.
He was just a sweet guy.
He died last week.
I received an e-mail from Kathleen this evening:
Needless to say, I was stunned. Clifford died the way the very first friend I lost to AIDS died back in 1986. Within weeks of his diagnosis.
Surely we've come farther than that in nearly 20 years.
I go around with Steve and I listen to all of the talks that he gives to kids, educating them to the reality of living with AIDS.
But that's the operative word: living with AIDS. Steve is walking proof that AIDS is no longer a death sentence. There are medications. Protease inhibiters. People are now living with AIDS.
And then along comes Clifford. Careful. Responsible. Diligent in testing. And he's dead within weeks of his diagnosis.
If young people coming along these days think that AIDS is not the danger that it once was, they need to take this message to heart. Yes, more and more people are living with AIDS, but it's still a killer and last week it claimed another sweet, loving guy who should have lived a lot longer.
As Steve says--all you need to do is not exchange bodily fluids and the whole thing could be prevented in the first place.
I hated having to add a new ribbon to my personal web page
Such a sad, sad loss.
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