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Author Topic: Memories and Thanks  (Read 3284 times)

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Offline RAB

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,895
  • Joined March 2003
Memories and Thanks
« on: September 01, 2008, 07:14:34 PM »
Hello Everyone:

About an hour ago I was sitting at this computer looking over my photos from AMG 08.
Damn Fool was sitting across the room when he asked:

"What the heck are you looking at?  You're grinning from ear to ear."

I responded:

"I'm looking at my pictures from Mexico City."

I was reliving the wonderful time I had and keeping those memories fresh in my mind.  I didn't think this gathering would be as wonderful as it turned out to be.  Wonderful it was.  I had a fantastic time.  I suspect the same was true for everyone else too.  

If you want, please share some of those thoughts here.  What are your fondest memories?  I know you all have got some.

I'm so thankful for having made the journey.  I'm especially thankful for the friends who shared it with me.  

With that in mind, I feel a need to say THANK YOU.

1.  Thank you to everyone who took a chance and came to AMG 08.  What a great adventure we all shared.

2.  Thank you to Mini, for bringing a smile to the faces of everyone she touched.

3.  Thank you to Robert for the placecards he made for us.  I've added mine to my momentos of others AMGs and will cherish it.

4.  Thank you to Philly for the photo gallery and giving all of us the chance to share our pictures and keep our memories alive.

5.  Thank you to the anonymous donor who "opened the bar" at the Meet and Greet, and made it all that more festive.

6.  Thank you to the Grants Committee and the donors who gave so generously.  While the anonymity is important, what you give  is so much a part of making these gatherings possible.

Finally, last but by no means least.

THANK YOU

To Jan and Dennis.

7.  Jan thank you for yet another moving and beautiful memorial service. Mini lit a candle for all the children of the world, and we lit an candle for everyone suffering from HIV/AIDS.  We remembered and honored two special members who are no longer with us.  Only your thoughtfulness and compassion could have brought this to fruition.
Thank you for taking the lead on arranging the charter bus to the pyramids.  Thank you for being the special person you are.  And thank you for the friendship you give to all of us.  I love you.

8.  Dennis, thank you for the great hotel, thank you for the beautiful t-shirts, thank you (especially) for the Meet and Greet.  The food was delicious, the view from our 25th floor banquet room was spectacular, everything about it was perfect.  I can only imagine the difficulty you had with the language barrier and all, but whatever challenges you faced, you brought it home.  These gatherings would never be the same without your commitment.

RAB  ;D

[attachment deleted by admin]

Offline Robert

  • Member
  • Posts: 2,645
Re: Memories and Thanks
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2008, 02:04:24 AM »
rab ~~~

It gets better and better every year.  I love seeing my old friends and making new ones. Thanks especially to Mini's and Mum's family for letting them come.  I can't wait for next year and another "Mother and Child Reunion."

What I remember most fondly is our Memorial Friday morning.  Listening to Jan's poem and thinking of past friends brought tears to my eyes.  Then when Lou-ah-vull cited 'angels of america' and the babies floating in mid-air with their arms and legs out in all directions brought a great big smile to my face.  A wonderful contrast in the magic land of of Mexico.

Oh, and now I know why my Negro Mondelo was gratis.  I had no idea.  Yes, whoever you are, gracias.  But I do want to thank Clif for buying shots for everyone at our table at the Meet/Greet.  A perfect way to end a meal.

The crowd was smaller than last year's but that didn't put a damper on anything.  Smiles are contagious. And yours was the first one I saw when I arrived Thursday morning and the last when I left Sunday afternoon.  Thanks for the memories.

robert 
..........

Offline pozniceguy

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,181
  • Niceguy Dallas
Re: Memories and Thanks
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2008, 10:24:09 AM »
I can hardly say what was the best memory...mini and her mom  were at the top of the list but the camaraderie of such a variety of people still astounds me...we were/are a very diverse group..vastly different in age, background,cultural upbringing and yet very compatible as friends in an unfamiliar country who seemed to bond easily and share some very personal issues....
I repeat those special thanks to  the extraordinary efforts of Jan , Dennis, Gary and Ray for all the goodness they brought to the gathering.....

I had a great time......

Nick
remember the good times...honor the past but don't live there
Le stelle la notte sono grandie luminose, nel cuore profondo del Texas

Offline minismom

  • Member
  • Posts: 2,608
  • Quocumque jeceris stabit
Re: Memories and Thanks
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2008, 12:08:11 PM »
I have not managed to stop talking about AMG since we got home.  I wasn't prepared for the impact that it would have on me.  Wow, so many memories, so little time.

My favorite memory will always be of Mini and i holding hands as we took that last step to the top of the pyramid.  After that last step, she looked up to me and said, "wow, mom, you made it!"  LOL..that's exactly what I was about to tell her. 

I have to ditto the thanks to Jan and Dennis.  I'm especially thankful to Jan for her awesome kindness.  She was the person who convinced me to come to AMG.  I was leary bringing a 7yr old to MC, first.  And, secondly, bringing her on a trip that was exclusively adults.  She made me feel at such ease about it that we came.

I have to thank RAB who was ALWAYS there bouncing in from nowhere, telling me how hyper I was, then bouncing right back out again.  I never knew where he came from or where he was going afterwards, but he was always there and it meant the world to me.

I have to thank Santi and Bosquo for always laughing and being so sweet to Mini.  And Bosquo, for turning such a wonderful shade of red and never forgetting why ;)  Also for always being the ones who stayed with us for breakfast.

Thank you Robert for your kind, gentle way with Mini and for always messing up her hair.

Thank you Jody for always looking out for my wee one.

Thank you Mike not only for her backpack, but also for dinner Sunday night.  You are such a wonderful, kind man.

Thank you to Ric and Thom who were ALWAYS good for a laugh.

To all the rest of Mini's guys, so many thanks.  I'm sure I'll be editing this as I remember more.  I had it in my mind that this would be our one and only AMG - didn't want to "bother" anyone any more than we had to and certainly didn't want to wear out our welcome.  But, you guys were / have been so wonderful and encouraging, hopfully you won't mind putting up with us at AMG2009.  Much love to you ALL - I miss each of you daily.

Mum (who was never told there was an open bar!)
« Last Edit: September 03, 2008, 10:24:58 PM by minismom »
www.watoto.com
www.MotherBearProject.org
"Whichever way you throw me, i will stand"
"Don't worry about the world coming to an end today...it's already tomorrow in Australia"  Charles Schultz

Offline Ric Wilke

  • Member
  • Posts: 573
  • I joined AIDSmed.com 10/2002.
Re: Memories and Thanks
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2008, 07:11:56 PM »
Dearest Friends,

I just don't know where to start.  If I were to try and remember everything I was thankful for about AMG 08 in Mexico City, I think I would fry the few memory cells my brain still has left.

I am thankful for being able to make the trip, for being united with old friends and for meet all the new ones.  I will not begin to name names for fear that I leave someone very special out.

AMG has become an important part of my life.  It allows me to renew my personal fight with this dreadful disease.  It reminds me that the phrase spoken by one of most beloved members is just as true today as it was years ago.  "IT'S OKAY.  I UNDERSTAND.  I'M POSITIVE, TOO."

Thank you everyone and viva AMG, Ric

Offline David_CA

  • Member
  • Posts: 3,246
  • Joined: March 2006
Re: Memories and Thanks
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2008, 08:57:40 PM »
I'm thankful to all those that made the AMG possible.  That includes those who contributed funds for grants, planned events, took care of arranging so many aspects of the Gathering, etc.  I should also say thanks to those who went to the expense and inconvenience of traveling to a foreign country.  I'd probably have to single out three individuals (in no particular order):  Thanks, Jan, for planning the memorial service, setting up the bus trip to the pyramids, and for remembering the AMG wedding anniversaries.  Thanks, Dennis, for all the work you did getting the room rates and general accommodations.  The hotel was very nice and I have no complaints about it at all (except for the 'inability' of the employees to make change on bar tabs  ;) ).  Thanks, anonymous 'bar-opener' who made the dinner that much nicer with the addition of an open bar.  That was very nice and unexpected.

As for memories, there are too many to even recount.  From cocktails in our room to my riding in the back of a van (there's a pic of me back there on the photo gallery Philly set up) to us sneaking out on the roof of the hotel, there are so many funny and unforgettable memories. 

David
Black Friday 03-03-2006
03-23-06 CD4 359 @27.4% VL 75,938
06-01-06 CD4 462 @24.3% VL > 100,000
08-15-06 CD4 388 @22.8% VL >  "
10-21-06 CD4 285 @21.9% VL >  "
  Atripla started 12-01-2006
01-08-07 CD4 429 @26.8% VL 1872!
05-08-07 CD4 478 @28.1% VL 740
08-03-07 CD4 509 @31.8% VL 370
11-06-07 CD4 570 @30.0% VL 140
02-21-08 CD4 648 @32.4% VL 600
05-19-08 CD4 695 @33.1% VL < 48 undetectable!
08-21-08 CD4 725 @34.5%
11-11-08 CD4 672 @39.5%
02-11-09 CD4 773 @36.8%
05-11-09 CD4 615 @36.2%
08-19-09 CD4 770 @38.5%
11-19-09 CD4 944 @33.7%
02-17-10 CD4 678 @39.9%  
06-03-10 CD4 768 @34.9%
09-21-10 CD4 685 @40.3%
01-10-11 CD4 908 @36.3%
05-23-11 CD4 846 @36.8% VL 80
02-13-12 CD4 911 @41.4% VL<20
You must be the change you want to see in the world.  Mahatma Gandhi

Offline RAB

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,895
  • Joined March 2003
Re: Memories and Thanks
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2008, 10:13:45 PM »

As for memories, there are too many to even recount.  From cocktails in our room to my riding in the back of a van (there's a pic of me back there on the photo gallery Philly set up) to us sneaking out on the roof of the hotel, there are so many funny and unforgettable memories. 

David

David:

I think you've pretty much summed up what I've been feeling too.  I can't even begin to recount what this trip meant to me. 

I knew I was going to experience the joy of reconnecting with friends, I knew I was going to be enriched by meeting new friends. 

What I wasn't expecting was the totality of what this year's gathering offered.

Starting with the common bond we all share, followed with the true and honest emotion of the Memorial Gathering, and finished with the wonderful Meet and Greet that Dennis planned.

As I look at the photos on Philly's gallery, I can't help but feel a sense of renewal. 

Drama is Drama.

Causes are causes.

Nothing is meant to diminish the concerns of others.

Somehow, someway, this gathering was special.

That's all I can say.

RAB  ;D

Online Lou-ah-vull

  • Member
  • Posts: 948
Re: Memories and Thanks
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2008, 12:21:11 AM »
Like many of you, there were many highlights of this trip.  I had concerns since I knew our numbers were smaller and we were in a stranger locale, but it turned out that both of those factors bonded the group together.  I found that this time (my third) I got to know several people much better.  The memorial service is always a high point for me because it grounds me to our common experience.  It was an honor to assist in the service this year.

As I prepared a brief reflection, I pondered on the uniqueness of human memory.  Because of our ability to remember, we are able to make our departed loved ones present, albeit in a very different way, through our unique power of memory.  I shared that even grief becomes a means by which we are able to hold something in memory...and this while bittersweet, is precious.  My losses, like so many of the group's, are still very real, very painful, and tragic to me. Nevertheless, my ability to hold them in memory keeps me going.

I shared two moving selections from the end of Tony Kushner's epic play Perestroika (combined with Millenium Approaches they are now better known as Angels in America.)   They are two main characters, Harper and Prior, final speeches.  Here are the selections I chose:

Harper (in the Tropopause):
When we hit thirty five thousand feet, we’ll have reached the tropopause.  The great belt of calm air.  As close as I will ever get to the ozone.
I dreamed we were there. The plane leapt the tropopause, the safe air, and attained the outer rim, the ozone, which was ragged and torn, patches of it threadbare as old cheesecloth, and that was frightening.
But I saw something only I could see, because of my astonishing ability to see such things:
Souls were rising, from the earth far below, souls of the dead, of people who perished, from famine, from the war, from the plague, and they floated up like skydivers in reverse, limbs all akimbo, wheeling and spinning.  And the souls of the departed joined hands, clasped ankles and formed a web, a great net of souls, and the souls were three atom oxygen molecules, of the stuff of ozone, and the outer rim absorbed them, and was repaired.
Nothing’s lost forever.  In this world, there is a kind of painful progress.  Longing for what we’ve left behind and dreaming ahead.

Prior (at the Bethesda Fountain):
The fountain’s not flowing now, they turn it off in the winter, ice in the pipes.  But in the summer it’s a sight to see.  I want to be around to see it.  I plan to be.  I hope to be.
This disease will be the end of many of us, but not nearly all, and the dead will be commemorated and will struggle on with the living, and we are not going away.  We won’t die secret deaths anymore.  The world only spins forward.  We will be citizens.  The time has come now.
Bye now.
You are fabulous creatures, each and every one.
And I bless you:  More life!
The Great Work Begins!

When many of us wonder why are still hanging around, especially when some of our most loved friends are not, those words help me to continue "the great work."

AMG was so much more than just this note, but I felt compelled to add this tonight while it was still fresh in my memory.

Gary

Diagnosed Oct. 2005
10/05:  367 (26.2%), 24556 VL
01/06:  344 (24.6%), 86299 VL
04/06:  374 (22.0%), 87657 VL
05/06:  Began HAART 05/15/06, Combivir/Kaletra
07/06:  361 (27.8%), 1299 VL
10/06:  454 (32.4%), 55 VL
01/07:  499 (38.4%), UD
02/07:  Switched to Atripla 2/8/07
04/07:  566 (37.7%), UD
08/07:  761 (42.3%), UD
06/08:  659 (47.1%), UD
01/09:  613 (43.8%), UD
07/09:  616 (47.4%), UD
01/10:  530 (44.2%), UD
07/10:  636 (48.9%), UD
01/11:  627 (48.2%), UD
07/11:  840 (52.5%), UD
01/12:  920 (51.1%), UD
07/12:  857 (50.4%), 40
10/12:  UD
01/13:  710 (47.3%), UD
07/13:  886 (49.2%), UD
01/14:  985 (46.9%), UD
06/14:  823 (47.2%), UD

Offline RAB

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,895
  • Joined March 2003
Re: Memories and Thanks
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2008, 05:28:42 PM »
Like many of you, there were many highlights of this trip.  I had concerns since I knew our numbers were smaller and we were in a stranger locale, but it turned out that both of those factors bonded the group together.  I found that this time (my third) I got to know several people much better.

Gary I think you're absolutely right on with this point.  There was an intimacy that helped make this gathering something I will always cherish.
 
Quote
The memorial service is always a high point for me because it grounds me to our common experience.  It was an honor to assist in the service this year.

As I prepared a brief reflection, I pondered on the uniqueness of human memory.  Because of our ability to remember, we are able to make our departed loved ones present, albeit in a very different way, through our unique power of memory.  I shared that even grief becomes a means by which we are able to hold something in memory...and this while bittersweet, is precious.  My losses, like so many of the group's, are still very real, very painful, and tragic to me. Nevertheless, my ability to hold them in memory keeps me going.

Tears came to my eyes twice during the memorial service.  The second time was embracing Jan and feeling her in my arms struggling to control her emotions.

But the first, was when you spoke so beautifully and powerfully.  Your message was spot on, and truly salient in my opinion.  Thank you buddy for reminding us that while memories can sometimes be a source of pain, we also have the option of seeing them as a gift.  A gift that allows us to continue to hold those who are no longer physically with us close to our hearts.  That to me was such a powerful and healing message.  One that I need to embrace more often.

Quote
I shared two moving selections from the end of Tony Kushner's epic play Perestroika (combined with Millenium Approaches they are now better known as Angels in America.)   They are two main characters, Harper and Prior, final speeches.  Here are the selections I chose:

Harper (in the Tropopause):
When we hit thirty five thousand feet, we’ll have reached the tropopause.  The great belt of calm air.  As close as I will ever get to the ozone.
I dreamed we were there. The plane leapt the tropopause, the safe air, and attained the outer rim, the ozone, which was ragged and torn, patches of it threadbare as old cheesecloth, and that was frightening.
But I saw something only I could see, because of my astonishing ability to see such things:
Souls were rising, from the earth far below, souls of the dead, of people who perished, from famine, from the war, from the plague, and they floated up like skydivers in reverse, limbs all akimbo, wheeling and spinning.  And the souls of the departed joined hands, clasped ankles and formed a web, a great net of souls, and the souls were three atom oxygen molecules, of the stuff of ozone, and the outer rim absorbed them, and was repaired.
Nothing’s lost forever.  In this world, there is a kind of painful progress.  Longing for what we’ve left behind and dreaming ahead.

Prior (at the Bethesda Fountain):
The fountain’s not flowing now, they turn it off in the winter, ice in the pipes.  But in the summer it’s a sight to see.  I want to be around to see it.  I plan to be.  I hope to be.
This disease will be the end of many of us, but not nearly all, and the dead will be commemorated and will struggle on with the living, and we are not going away.  We won’t die secret deaths anymore.  The world only spins forward.  We will be citizens.  The time has come now.
Bye now.
You are fabulous creatures, each and every one.
And I bless you:  More life!
The Great Work Begins!

When many of us wonder why are still hanging around, especially when some of our most loved friends are not, those words help me to continue "the great work."

And finally I think the following quote is particularly relevant.  Thank you for helping all of us keep it fresh in our memories.

Quote
AMG was so much more than just this note, but I felt compelled to add this tonight while it was still fresh in my memory.

Gary

RAB 





 


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