I remember this special occasion as if it was today. It was my youngest sister's baptism and as my mum prepared to take a picture with my sister, I jumped up and made sure I was part of the picture too. You can see that I'm looking away, my stance and expression is me almost showing my other siblings that I get my way, considering they said that I wasn't supposed to be in the picture.
My mum is one of the strongest woman that I know. I love her to bits, I would always jump at an opportunity to be by her side. Every night I would pray to God, beg him to take me at the same time my mum would eventually come to pass away. A bit drastic I know, what a wish for a very young girl. Well that wish changed when I eventually became a mother myself. By then, I understood that parents should go first then the children, this is the expected life cycle.
Today, what I really want to share is my mum's response when I shared my HIV status.
Telling my mum was nerve wracking but it turned out to be a very positive response. For my surprise, she knew all about the difference between the virus and the late stage of HIV, only not being sure about the treatment itself. I explained that I only take one pill a day (bear in mind she is 70 years old and experienced the stigmatising 80's & 90's AIDS stories).
She is living with diabetes and she quickly lifted up her shirt and said "better than my treatment for diabetes… look at my belly ruined by insulin injections".
I was crying and she hugged me tight and said: "Don't cry my daughter, I know you will not fall ill, as you are living in UK I'm sure the treatment is good, but if you fall ill I will feed you". Then she said how proud she is to have me as her daughter and that she would never turn her back on me.
I knew this day was the beginning of finding myself again.
After this positive and compassionate experience I decided to be visible and not let other people's judgements define the person that I am.
I'm aware that unfortunately this might not be a reality to many. But I think it's important to share positive experiences as it may help and encourage someone to share with their parents and family. ❤️