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Author Topic: Reflections on an anniversary  (Read 8533 times)

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Offline gemini20

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Reflections on an anniversary
« on: May 22, 2007, 06:06:56 pm »
Today is the 14th anniversary of my ex-partner’s death and I spent the afternoon at his grave in Highgate Cemetery thinking about all that happened between us – our chance meeting, the relationship that followed, how he infected me, how HIV transformed both our lives, and his subsequent illness and death.

I also visited one of our special places – the café where we spent so many happy evenings and had raisin toast and a milkshake in his honour. Tomorrow night I will be going to a concert by the same orchestra that I went to the night we first met. It seemed fitting to go as a tribute to Ian because even after all these years and everything I have subsequently had to deal with, I still miss him.

I miss the many simple things we shared – breakfasts in bed, listening to the radio on Sunday mornings; picnics at Kenwood, rides out on his motorbike, sitting on the hilltop and watching the sunset – I could go on and on.

Ian developed HIV related dementia back in 1992 and his subsequent deterioration and death took about 9 months – watching that process in someone I had loved was devastating and it still haunts me to this day. I can never forget what I might have to go through in the future.

I did a piece of writing a week after Ian died to try and capture that experience, just re-reading it tonight sends me right back to the hospice room and all the horrors that we went through. I thought about posting the piece on here but am cautious about freaking out those who have never experienced the reality of death from AIDS.

I still regard the experience of watching someone’s last days on earth as a privilege. It had a huge impact on the 23 year old woman I was back then and still resonates to this day. Sometimes I think I should let go of anniversaries but for the time being I need to acknowledge them and today I wanted others to know too.

Thanks for letting me share my thoughts.


PS: I wasn't entirely sure which section I should post this in - so mods feel free to move if you think this one isn't appropriate.
Diagnosed 11th September 1991
Current CD4 count 484 (26%); viral load undetectable (December 2011).
Restarting boosted Prezista 08/04/11

Offline Matty the Damned

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Re: Reflections on an anniversary
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2007, 06:47:56 pm »
Hey Emma,

Anniversaries are important things which mark those events in our lives from which we derive meaning and use to make sense of it all.

If this isn't a Living With HIV issue, then I don't know what is.


(Who appreciates loss)

Offline anniebc

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Re: Reflections on an anniversary
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2007, 07:12:30 pm »
Sometimes I think I should let go of anniversaries

Never let go Emma...if you did you would spend every year at this time wondering what was missing.

 I think we need to celebrate the time spent together, and remember those we have loved and lost..memories are the very thing that keeps them with us.

I hope by the end of today your sadness will turn into smiles as you remember the good times you shared.

Jan :-*
Never knock on deaths door..ring the bell and run..he really hates that.

Offline AlanBama

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Re: Reflections on an anniversary
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2007, 07:58:21 pm »
Emma, I agree with Jan, never let go honey.   The memories are so important.

It always makes me sad to look back (whether it be photos, mementos, the cemetery, etc) but afterwards I usually feel better.   It's true, sometimes a good cry is just what the doctor ordered.

I would love to read the piece you wrote 14 years ago.   Post it in the LTS forum if you are uncomfortable putting it out here. 

love &  hugs,

"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 BT65

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Re: Reflections on an anniversary
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2007, 08:29:28 pm »
My first husband died February 15, 1989.  Just two days after I tested positive.  It's very important to remember sweetie.  The experiences I've gone through sitting with my friends who were dying, I will never forget.  Today I celebrate their memory.  And sometimes I still cry.  Thanks for keeping me strong. :-* :-*
I've never killed anyone, but I frequently get satisfaction reading the obituary notices.-Clarence Darrow

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Online leatherman

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Re: Reflections on an anniversary
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2007, 01:00:10 am »
Oh Emma, I am sorry for your loss and offer my condolences. Friday, the 25th, I will be thinking of 14 years ago when my partner Randy passed away. I was 30 and he was only 29.

All the details of those days are still just as vivid for me as if they happened yesterday. I think the memories are still so strong because of the love we had. The best and worst of those memories where in the last 9 days of his life when I brought him home from the hospital so he could die surrounded by his family, friends and our dogs. At 5:45 in the morning, Randy had his mother wake me up from a 30 min nap (the only sleep I had had in those last three days), so he could utter his last words ("love you") to me. At 5:55, his mom pronounced him dead.

It took me a long long time to get over even a portion of the grief of that day. What a great price I paid for 10 yrs of love. It wasn't until just a couple of yrs ago that I got to a point where I could move forward in my life. Luckily, my best friend through all those years was still patiently waiting, and I'm very glad to have "officially" had him as my partner for 3 yrs now.

Pictures of Randy hang on the wall in our house today (I recently moved from the home I held onto all those yrs after Randy's passing, and into my partner's home). I'm sure this weekend I'll be going over to see my "mom in law" (Randy's mom), where we'll visit the grave once again, and remember a wonderful man.

At times I feel kinda strange because even though I can tell you a hundred stories about the good times, sometimes I like to dwell on those dark days (especially around the anniversay). Why? Because it's those experiences, good and bad, that make me be the better person I am today. My Randy couldn't enjoy the beautiful sunshine today, couldn't play with the dogs all afternoon, and can't even visit his mom. But I've fought back at this disease, I enjoyed the lovely Spring weather, played with my dogs who always make me smile, and I'll be able to spend time with his mom. I saw how short life CAN be and try to enjoy the life I do have now.

I hope you enjoy the concert, and the pleasant memories of Ian that are sure to be there. No one is truly gone as long as someone is left remembering them. Your post here has brought a piece of Ian alive to each of us.

Best wishes and good health!
leatherman (aka Michael)

We were standing all alone
You were leaning in to speak to me
Acting like a mover shaker
Dancing to Madonna then you kissed me
And I think about it all the time
- Darren Hayes, "Chained to You"

Offline Robert

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Re: Reflections on an anniversary
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2007, 01:11:22 am »
Emma....What a enchanting, life-affirming, albeit bitter-sweet post. I too have been through those "horrors" you're talking about.  But like you said the simplicity of life can be so uplifting.  Once again you've opened my eyes to something completely out of my realm. Was raisin toast and a milkshake really something you and Ian sharred?  Now there is a combination one is not likely to forget.


Offline penguin

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Re: Reflections on an anniversary
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2007, 02:54:09 am »
raisin toast & milkshakes.. sometimes the small things, the quiet moments, say "I remember you" the loudest

I hope the orchestra soars - Kate X x

Offline Jeffreyj

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Re: Reflections on an anniversary
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2007, 03:29:33 am »
I can totally relate to your post here. I went though 21 days in a hospital being by my wife's side. We had spent the best 15 years together, and I knew this was going to be the end. May 3rd, a day I will always Cherish and remember. It is important to have a date that triggers the greatest memories I have ever had. So many fun times, so much love and life  shared. I know that the pain that goes along with it strikes you at the very core of your being. To this day, I get that sick feeling in my gut. But it is quickly erased with a flooding of so many thoughts of the  great times. Fun times. So many of life's "special moments" that I may not otherwise think of, if not for the date of May 3rd.

The first few years I would get all freaked out, I would "run away" from it. That would totally drain me emotionally, running away, hiding. Now, I find it makes me feel better to remember all the good times. After all, they say you can take your memories with you when you go. Why not keep the great memories fresh in your heart It is so much more peaceful, and so much less stressful to do so.

I am happy for you that you have chose to remember, Emma. I hope you two had as much fun and love as Kandi and I had.

 It sure sounds like we had two very special people come into our lives. How blessed we are. Blessed, indeed.

Positive since 1985

Offline Central79

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Re: Reflections on an anniversary
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2007, 07:23:37 am »
Dear Emma

What a beautiful post. I think anniversaries are important - they let us acknowledge and celebrate or mourn our past and also acknowledge our future.

I agree with you, that it is a privilege to be with somebody in their final days and hours. I hope you will feel able to post the piece you wrote - I would like to read it.


Diagnosed January 2006
26/1/06 - 860 (22%), VL > 500,000
24/4/06 - 820 (24.6%), VL 158,000
13/7/06 - 840 (22%), VL 268,000
1/11/06 - 680 (21%), VL 93,100
29/1/07 - 1,020 (27.5%), VL 46,500
15/5/07 - 1,140 (22.8%), VL not done.
13/10/07 - 759 (23.2%), VL 170,000
6/11/07 - 630 (25%), VL 19,324
14/1/08 - 650 (21%), VL 16,192
15/4/08 - 590 (21%), VL 40, 832

Offline J.R.E.

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  • Positive since 1985, joined forums 12/03
Re: Reflections on an anniversary
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2007, 07:52:47 am »

BIG ((((((HUGS ))))) TO YOU EMMA

Current Meds ; Viramune / Epzicom Eliquis, Diltiazem. Pravastatin 80mg, Ezetimibe. UPDATED 2/18/24
 Tested positive in 1985,.. In October of 2003, My t-cell count was 16, Viral load was over 500,000, Percentage at that time was 5%. I started on  HAART on October 24th, 2003.

 UPDATED: As of April, 2nd 2024,Viral load Undetectable.
CD 4 @593 /  CD4 % @ 18 %

Lymphocytes,total-3305 (within range)

cd4/cd8 ratio -0.31

cd8 %-57


Offline SASA39

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Re: Reflections on an anniversary
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2007, 08:03:37 am »
You are so sincere................and your words have strucked me .......
I have watched my father and mother dying from metastased lung to brain cancer , and it is a very similar thing........I wear those pictures in my head still............my wife and I are still holding hands in bed, but it makes me sad , who will hold her hand one day when I`m gone.............and I have two daughters...................I do not want them  or my wife to see me suffering  , and to be on their back because it could also leave a emotional scar to their souls...........
I have found that it is best for me to remember just one picture of them  ( father & mother ), smiling , and not to go beyond , because one cannot separate a nice moments from the end , and a sorrow and pain like Jeffreyj strikes you at the very core of your being.
Because when you love someone too much , you also suffer to much , after he is gone.......( I`ve had an strange option to piss my wife & daughters away just to spare them of future grief.............but cannot stand not to be without them)
So remeber him happy , and proceed with your life task on Earth......
I think that he would wish for same ...........
I know that I do......................................

12. Oct`06.  CD4=58 %  VL not issued
25.Dec.`06.         203     VL= 0
25.Dec`06.- 19.Oct`16 :
various ups & downs- mostly ups - from 58-916 and back in #CD and few blips in VL.
19.Oct`16     CD4=644      VL=0

Offline RAB

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Re: Reflections on an anniversary
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2007, 08:50:39 am »

What a moving post and (dare I say it?) wonderful way to remember Ian. 


Offline aztecan

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  • 36 years positive, 64 years a pain in the butt
Re: Reflections on an anniversary
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2007, 11:43:12 am »

Thank you for sharing this and opening a window in my soul. I wasn't allowed to be with Wesley at the end - his family didn't approve, good xristians that they were.

No matter. His memory was awakened today by you and for that, I am very, very grateful.

I hope your special day is as uplifting as are the feelings your writing has evoked in me.


« Last Edit: May 23, 2007, 11:46:12 am by aztecan »
"May your life preach more loudly than your lips."
~ William Ellery Channing (Unitarian Minister)

Offline sweetasmeli

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Re: Reflections on an anniversary
« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2007, 01:14:11 pm »
I have read your posts for months now, Emma. Haven't responded in many - for one reason or another, you know how it is - but I have always remembered you. You are an incredible woman. An incredible human being. You really are. Your post had me in tears and I just wanted to be able to reach out and give you a huge hug.
Thank you for allowing us this beautiful snapshot of what is inside your head and your heart.

When I come back to the UK, if you would like to meet up, it would be an honour to hug you in person.

In the meantime, (((((((Emma)))))))...

Melia xx
/\___/\       /\__/\
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The difference between cats and dogs is that dogs come when called, whereas cats take a message and get back to you.

Yeia kai hara (health and happiness) to everyone!

Offline SASA39

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Re: Reflections on an anniversary
« Reply #15 on: May 23, 2007, 04:18:54 pm »
Emma , you had touched my heart ,...................strongly....... and I had to came back to tell you more............
Do you know how I remember you ?
As your avatar picture..................
I do not need anything else ........
There I can see a woman with warm smile on her face , in a moment of , untainted joy , a picture that I would keep in my mind forever..............
12. Oct`06.  CD4=58 %  VL not issued
25.Dec.`06.         203     VL= 0
25.Dec`06.- 19.Oct`16 :
various ups & downs- mostly ups - from 58-916 and back in #CD and few blips in VL.
19.Oct`16     CD4=644      VL=0

Offline gemini20

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Re: Reflections on an anniversary
« Reply #16 on: May 23, 2007, 07:27:38 pm »
I want to thank you all for your responses to my post about Ian's anniversary. I honestly wasn't sure if it was appropriate to share all of that but I'm glad I did as it clearly provided many of you with the opportunity to connect to similar feelings.

The concert tonight was a rousing mix of Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and Mendelssohn and the orchestra was on fine form. I thought of Ian a lot tonight but it wasn't with the sadness of yesterday but with a sense of joy at the many happy times we spent at concerts like this. I am sure that he was hovering around in the ether enjoying the cellist's debut solo performance as much as I was.

One of the very few anxieties I have about death is that people will forget about me over time, or that my name will never be mentioned again for fear of upsetting someone - this was how my mum reacted after my Dad died and so he 'disappeared' from our lives in more than just the physical sense.  I didn't want that to happen with Ian and so I am pleased I have found somewhere to share my thoughts and keep his memory alive as no one in my life now knew him.

For all those who have lost someone, my hope for you in reading this thread is that you can, however fleetingly, feel reconnected to that person and remember with joy a special moment that you shared.

Diagnosed 11th September 1991
Current CD4 count 484 (26%); viral load undetectable (December 2011).
Restarting boosted Prezista 08/04/11


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