Even After Death

I keep on reflecting back to when I used to be a home based care provider. My experiences back then, I go to very sick persons’ homes that are living with HIV and AIDS. Most were very sad ones and some few with worth the while. I remember some faces of those who passed on after much struggles with the diseases (opportunistic infections). The ones that broke my heart were two young ladies who died and their family had to call me to come over immediately after their death.

One particular case was that of this young lady full of hope of living after seeing someone living positively with the Virus. She really wanted to move on but the OIs did not allow her to live. I got a call just a day after my last visit to her by the elder brother that she just passed on in the early hour of the morning. He requested that I come to their house that very morning.

On arriving to the house, I was taken to her bedroom where she was still lying on the bed cold. I was shocked and asked why have they not moved to a hospital or called an ambulance. They were all still in shock and didn’t know what to do at that point. With the assistance of the elder brother and younger sister I requested that they help me get her into the bathtub were I gave her a bath and single handed, dressed her up before the coffin was brought and she put into it.

I went with them to help get her death certificate from the local government area where she died. After that looking at her for the last time made me cry a lot that day because I only got to know her for four weeks and it looked like we knew each other for long. She told to me a day before she passed that she wanted to live and give other people hope to live even with HIV and AIDS.

The family was full of surprise when I ate with her on the same plate and the dad asked me if it was possible to eat with her. His question made me sad because they lacked knowledge and information about the AIDS virus.

This is one experience I will never forget.

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Braveheart, Sending Love to You

tj30trust's picture

So sorry that your work has caused you to experience so much sadness. This work is heartbreaking, and though I can't imagine what it must feel like for you, just know that you have been the strength these families needed. I hope you are taking care of yourself. I love you!!

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Thank you for your willingness to love

6kiddles's picture

My heart breaks as I read this but at the same time it brings me joy to know that during that time when many would shun, you stepped in to show LOVE and compassion. Although as a 30+ yr. survivor myself, I,too, have seen a lot. I remember my husband passing away who had been diagnosed with AIDS and trying to find a funeral home to " accept" him. This on top of dealing with the death itself was so overwhelming. I challenge you to focus on the love and compassion you displayed for that family (and I'm sure countless others) instead of the negative and ignorance of others. I know for me, there WERE those that I knew I could count on that got me through some of the darkest times of my life, who will forever remain in my heart. Thank you for being you and continue to be a light for others regardless of how hurtful and uneducated some can be. People are always watching us and you just may be the spark to make a major change.

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kmartel commented on The Change

Thu, 9/21/2017 - 12:04pm
Thu, 9/21/2017 - 11:19am

In 2005 the Women and HIV Think Tank changed its name to WRI to reflect the work of the group and ongoing commitment to measurable results in the management of HIV disease in women.

Did you just test positive for HIV? Look here for help on next steps, normal feelings, and finding support.

A Place at the Table: WATCH! is an eight-week webinar series that offers women living with HIV* capacity building and training on HIV disease and treatment advocacy.

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