We all the lyrics to that song. I don't even have to say the name of the song and we all know it. I haven't been able to shake the lyrics out of my head today. The whole drive up to Connecticut to start my LAST semester at grad school. How is that even possible? That your average guy goes from having a poor high school education to a Kent State University Honors Graduate, and in early January of 2016 Professor Charles Dale. I can't begin to explain the journey except to say despite living long term with AIDS (which I'll talk about in a bit) I've worked my rear end off. Tests in hospital, exams in fast track rehabilitation at a Nursing Home and more than once going to class with a walker, a cane or even a wheelchair. I did exactly what was expected of me, and sometimes more –––– ask Dr. Jayne Moneysmith about The Gage Report, or Dr. Robert Miltner about my thesis.
I've spent nearly two years at Fairfield University writing about what it has been like living with AIDS, as of tomorrow it has been........25 YEARS!
How did that happen? Where did the time go? I've written the following from my memoir:
I was never meant to survive ––––– yet from my friends in Florida, in the late 1980's, I'm the only survivor. There are no other voices but mine. I'm left to tell all of their stories. Wonderfully fun times, with people who float in and out of my memory or in dreams.
Somehow, someway I have survived. A survivor. Me. A survivor. I’ve never seen myself that way for some reason. I’ve just lived the one day I’m in. Living one day at a time. Days somehow become weeks, then months, then years and now, well now it's decades. In the earliest days of my diagnosis, I felt HIV/AIDS gave me no promise of tomorrow.
I met a young man last December living with AIDS on the streets of NYC. His best friend, also living with AIDS, froze to death on those same streets! Where is the "new" Larry Kramer to be the warrior for long term survivors or even the newly diagnosed? Why hasn't the African American church reached out to those of us who are long term survivors to help provide hope and encouragement to the newly diagnosed?