I generally like to keep my notes uplifting, but it's been a challenging week for me and life isn't always sunshine and roses. A dear friend of mine had been out of contact with me for over two months. I generally like to send out random text messages to people in my phone just to let them know that while they may not be thinking about me, I am thinking about them. After getting no response from him via text and then trying to contact him on the phone to no avail, I decided to go by his house. I went to his house on Tuesday around 11am and there was no answer. I knew that his landlord was home because his car was in the driveway so I rang his bell. Off to the side of the house came a disheveled elderly black man wearing a t-shirt, sweatpants and unmatched socks. I inquired about my friend and was told that he had passed away three weeks ago. I was saddened. My friend was HIV+ and I knew that he had complications during the latter part of 2009, but I didn't tend to him like I should have. It made me think about my HIV+ brothers and sisters out there who will most likely die alone unless we learn to better embrace one another.
Black gay men (& some women) have a tough time in communities outside of their own. I have discovered that in our very own communities, we aren't as loving and caring as we should be. Could it be because many of us were never taught how to love? It's a long standing conversation that I have with myself and my friends around the fact that black men are not taught how to love? If we were, we surely would not be making babies and abandoning their mothers. We surely would not knowingly pass along viruses and STDs to our fellow brothers and sisters. This conversation haunts me a few times a week. I question my own leadership and whether or not I can do something about it and I keep coming up short.
I don't have a large family. I don't have any children of my own. My friendship circle seems to shrink with each new year and I'm not getting any younger. So, I ask myself, am I ready to die alone? I came into this world alone, so it would be no surprise to leave it alone, but I wonder.
When you think about that special friend who may be going through an illness, take time to comfort that person. Enjoy that person while they are here in the flesh. Tell them you love them. Don't let them die alone.
Enjoy your Thursday!