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Author Topic: HBO's The Normal Heart brings back tons of memories only a few still know:  (Read 1186 times)

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Offline jm1953

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  • Posts: 262
Hey Members,

Haven't been on for awhile.  Been having medical issues and some surgery. 

Have seen "The Normal Heart" the movie on HBO several times and it is truly a blast from the past.  Memories come flooding back caring for my friends with KS, Mac, Pneumonia, and God knows what.  It's hard for me to watch in many ways as I lost so many in the 80's and early 90's.  The movie's depiction and production of Larry Kramer's play is spot on.  I've felt so alone now almost 28 years living with this virus not having people to talk about this terrible time with when our friends got sick and weeks later died.  Bad case of PTSD my counselor says.  But I applaud HBO and the producers bringing this brilliant movie to fruition for millions to see.

I don't think anyone can believe it unless you have been through it.  Many of the actors being interviewed are so passionate about the project.  People ask them, and I've even had some ask me, did this really happen?  We, the long term survivors are really the historians who witnessed this, as few as we are.  I'm glad our loved ones who died senseless deaths because of the Government turning their head on an epidemic is brought back so they are not forgotten.  They truly were the hero's.  Too many friends I held hands with as they died, many in their 20's and 30's covered with lesions, or dying of so many other complications that may have been prevented had someone listened. 

I'm interested how the straight world deals with this movie.  And the Government.  It is up for 16 well deserved Emmy nominations and I feel confident will be a clean sweep.  I'm anxious to hear the speeches given by the actors.

My main point here is this movie relieved some of the pain I have been carrying all of these years, now almost alone. All the crying. No one in my world relates.  A majority of my Gay Friends, and certainly not my family.  And I'm relieved the friends I lost can now be remembered with perhaps a sense of understanding even at this juncture of time.  I will never forget. All I lost and all who fought to get someone to listen are my true hero's and always will be.

Bravo HBO, Larry Kramer, the producers, and the actors having the guts to remind us these times really happened and truly were a nightmare.

Guess I'm venting here as we have no long term survivors here that I know of who know this time of our lives.  I feel very alone sometimes.

On a another note, I hope all of you are doing well.  And I would love to hear your reactions to the film and how you are coping with the memories.

Best to you always,

Jm
Positive 25 years. 7/21/2012 Current CD 4: 780 Viral load: less than 50. 38 to 40%
Current drug regimen, Isentress, , Emtriva, Sustiva Wellbutrin, Klonipin, Allegra, Ambien, Testosterone, Nandrolone, Vicodin, Benedryl, Aspirin, lots of vitamin supplements.

Offline AlanBama

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  • Alabama: the 'other' 3rd World Country!
hi Jm

I loved the film, but like you, found it difficult to watch and re-live those horrible times.  I have found that since surpassing the 25+ year LTS milestone, I seem to do better by NOT looking back.  Of course I remember MUCH of those times, but some of the worst, I have manged to 'block' from my memories; don't know if that is a result of my confused and foggy brain, or if it is a coping mechanism.  Much of what I've blocked is the time I personally spent in hospital, and suffering from AIDS.  I have very few photos of myself from those years, as I wouldn't really let anyone get around me with a camera.

I recently was digging through some old papers and ran across all my documentation of AIDS discimination by my boss when I worked for the State of Georgia.  Letters from my attorney, memos from upper management, etc.
It was almost as if I was reading about a fictional character, and not myself. Did I really live through all of that?

I'm thankful that we are here.  I find it very hard to put my thoughts and reflections on being a Long Term Survivor into words, much less on paper.  I am thankful for people like Larry Kramer, and our other historians/documentarians.  Their work brings those times to life so that people now can see what it was like.

I SO understand what you are saying, about people in your life (family, friends, etc) not being able to relate to all of the suffering we went through.   It is the same with me.   I suppose that is why we are here, in the Forums.

Love from Alan

Precious Lord, take my hand...lead me on, let me stand
I'm tired, I'm weak and I'm worn
Through the dark, through the night,
Lead me on to the light,
Precious Lord, take my hand, and lead me on.
"Remember my sentimental friend that a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others." - The Wizard of Oz

Offline leatherman

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  • Posts: 6,305
  • Google and HIV meds are Your Friends
I suppose that is why we are here, in the Forums.
it's why I'm here!
it wasn't until I moved to SC that I met any of the other 50k LTSs still out there. Before the handful of peeps here, it was just you guys who understand.

I haven't watched the movie yet. I watched Survive a Plague and We were here; but as documentaries I thought I could watch those and only cry some. I'm afraid I just haven't been able to set aside the time to watch something personal because I'm afraid it'll make me cry a lot. and really, who's got time for that? ;)
leatherman (aka mIkIE)


chart from 1992-2013; updated 2/09/13  Reyataz/Norvir/Truvada

Offline harleymc

  • Member
  • Posts: 244
I  was having a beer with another LTS last night he was mentioning a play he saw recently in Melbourne that was about the early days of the pandemic.

 We knew at the time that we would be the memory/history carriers, but when a whole circle of people is gone (and I could argue whole cultures are gone), who do you share the memories with of a particular person or a particular event?


Offline Joe K

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  • Member
  • Posts: 3,842
  • 31 Years Poz
We knew at the time that we would be the memory/history carriers, but when a whole circle of people is gone (and I could argue whole cultures are gone), who do you share the memories with of a particular person or a particular event?

Harley,

I share them with myself as I have nobody else left, who was also there with me.  I worked very hard to replace my feelings of loss, with feelings of celebrating the folks who are gone.  I simply have nothing left to lose, I have no more heart to be broken.

I have arrived at a place, that I never could have imagined where I would be and I am totally lost.

Joe

Offline jm1953

  • Member
  • Posts: 262
Joe,
My sentiments exactly.  I feel your pain having too experienced so many losses.  My way of coping is to try to carry a piece of each friend I lost in my heart so they will forever live within me.  However, like you, my heart is very full and very broken.

It was difficult seeing The Normal Heart as it was so realistic as I mentioned in my first post.  I feel rather stigmatized too, but also lucky in that I have two long time friends, one an ex partner, who also know so many we lost in the late 80's and 90's.  We talk of them over a drink once in awhile to remember the good times we had.  Even so, it is a tough burden to carry, plus trying to cope with the virus ourselves for me almost 28 years, diagnosed in 1987, and you an amazing 31 years.

Even harder is I lost three friends last year, all long term survivors, and I fear I may lose my significant other I am in a long distance relationship with.  I too have many life threatening issues too that have to be monitored monthly, and procedures in between.  I wonder if this is really living.  Most of my non-HIV friends think I just like to go to the Doctor all the time, but they just don't get it, I give them that.

You can IM me any time.  I don't want you to feel lost.  I realize a lot of people rather forget than remember, too painful, but I'm not one of those people.  Very sentimental and loyal to my friends, or try to be.

Best to you,

Jeff

Positive 25 years. 7/21/2012 Current CD 4: 780 Viral load: less than 50. 38 to 40%
Current drug regimen, Isentress, , Emtriva, Sustiva Wellbutrin, Klonipin, Allegra, Ambien, Testosterone, Nandrolone, Vicodin, Benedryl, Aspirin, lots of vitamin supplements.

Offline bubba53

  • Member
  • Posts: 137
Hi Guys,
I too found the movie very powerful and moving. It really hit home for anyone who survived the plague, especially in small city with a large gay population. I cried through much of the movie, one of the things that hit me was Jim Parsons character who saved his rolodex cards when someone died, wish I had done something like that. There were so many so quick, I find I have a hard time now remembering them all, and that's sad. As Jim pointed we are walking historians, people are shocked that it really happened that way, well yes it did and we're here to tell you so.  I remember being in the hospital with pneumonia, and everyone wearing masks and gowns  and the big red trash can in the corner, and thinking this is it, scary. Some how some of us made it through. Still to this day I don't go to funerals or services, went to way too many, have pissed people off because of it ,but I don't care. I think living through those horrible times made us stronger, at least it did me, also makes me try to embrace and appreciate the good things that come our way because I didn't think we would live to have them, or each other. It was a story that needed to be told ,and it was done very well. Kudos to all involved.
                          Be Well ,Wade
"Who put the pepper in the....Vaseline  ? "

Offline wolfter

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  • Posts: 4,700
I've not been brave enough to watch this documentary yet.  How To Survive A Plague tormented my emotions so badly that I'm hesitant to go there again.  I've finally reached a place where I remember my lost loved ones several times a day instead of constantly mourning them.  Christ, I'm getting choked up just typing this.

In 1991, at the mere age of 26, I was once again hospitalized with AIDS.  Family and doctors thought I was out of it mentally but I vividly recall the doctor telling my mother that my demise was imminent.  Experiencing her grief was probably the catalyst that forced every once of energy to fight on.

I actually held anger for several years towards many of my dearest friends who decided to let the virus take its course.  They couldn't understand the desire to deal with the horrid affects of the early meds.  I on the other hand couldn't fathom doing everything necessary to fight.  I loved the other Gregg as much as I have ever loved another human being.  His last few weeks of life will forever be seared into consciousness.  I witnessed and cared for quite a few people in their final days but his death was almost more than I could handle.

Several years ago, I finally decided to retire my old address book.  I came to realize it was a bit of a morbid reminder to constantly see so many names of people who no longer exist.  I had planned on discarding it but that just seemed so wrong.  So thanks to our dearest Gary, I simply wrote the phrase; "DEFY GRAVITY". 

I recently changed my profile picture here as it's one of the few that exists where I was in the AIDS way.  Wearing baggy clothes and having sweat pants on under my jeans to appear larger.  In a weird way, it's a comfort to visually see where I was and where I'm at.  It's a testament to my struggles and determination.

I don't know another LTS in my area.  If not for the forums, I'd be left to live those memories alone. 
Complacency is the enemy.  ;)  Challenge yourself daily for maximum  return on investment.

Offline mrtoad

  • Member
  • Posts: 49
 I'm too poor to have HBO     ::)
Lee
Lee
prezista with a kick from norvir,
Truvada, Intellence. celexa,xanax.Revolving statin

Offline jm1953

  • Member
  • Posts: 262
I  was having a beer with another LTS last night he was mentioning a play he saw recently in Melbourne that was about the early days of the pandemic.

 We knew at the time that we would be the memory/history carriers, but when a whole circle of people is gone (and I could argue whole cultures are gone), who do you share the memories with of a particular person or a particular event?

You are right.  I don't know how to convey it to someone who has not lived through it like us.  I think we need to support each other through this.  I don't know about you but I have major survivor's guilt.

This reenactment of the nightmare we all went through as depicted through this movie is hard to relive.  But as I said before, and others seem to agree with their very thoughtful and heartfelt posts, this story needed to be told again so the majority of the population who did not experience it, can now see it was a reality.  Maybe this film will help answer some of the questions you asked in your post.

Best always,

JM
Positive 25 years. 7/21/2012 Current CD 4: 780 Viral load: less than 50. 38 to 40%
Current drug regimen, Isentress, , Emtriva, Sustiva Wellbutrin, Klonipin, Allegra, Ambien, Testosterone, Nandrolone, Vicodin, Benedryl, Aspirin, lots of vitamin supplements.

Offline jm1953

  • Member
  • Posts: 262
Thanks for all your posts about this and sharing your own stories.  Everyone has their own individual story of their experiences, and you are all very brave.  I'm glad we have this forum very much especially when subjects come up that only we as LTS can relate to.

Positive 25 years. 7/21/2012 Current CD 4: 780 Viral load: less than 50. 38 to 40%
Current drug regimen, Isentress, , Emtriva, Sustiva Wellbutrin, Klonipin, Allegra, Ambien, Testosterone, Nandrolone, Vicodin, Benedryl, Aspirin, lots of vitamin supplements.

Offline AlanBama

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  • Posts: 3,644
  • Alabama: the 'other' 3rd World Country!
Re: HBO's The Normal Heart brings back tons of memories only a few still know:
« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2014, 01:34:52 PM »
I am so glad that this won best TV movie at the Emmy Awards!   I was SO PROUD that Larry Kramer was able to be there in person, even though he looked terribly sick and weak.
"Remember my sentimental friend that a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others." - The Wizard of Oz

Offline aztecan

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  • Posts: 5,412
  • 29 years positive, 57 years a pain in the butt
Re: HBO's The Normal Heart brings back tons of memories only a few still know:
« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2014, 07:30:52 PM »
I am so glad that this won best TV movie at the Emmy Awards!   I was SO PROUD that Larry Kramer was able to be there in person, even though he looked terribly sick and weak.

Ditto!
"May your life preach more loudly than your lips."
~ William Ellery Channing (Unitarian Minister)

 


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