A friend says, this is the year that won’t stop taking and I feel it too, a deep sadness. When I worked on the AIDS Ward at San Francisco General Hospital in the mid-1980s, I had a constant heaviness in the center of my chest. It was always there and difficult to know what to do, what to say, where to go.
Sometimes, when patients were feeling it too, we’d go upstairs to Labor and Delivery. We’d stand outside the nursery window and watch the new arrivals.
Years later, when AIDS finally came into my house and my friend Bob had only a few months left, my nephew Tommy was born. I remember one day, we drove out to the East Bay so Bob could cradle Tommy in his arms.
On the way home, Bob wept so deeply.
“What is it? I asked.
“I wanted to hold someone,” he said, “who has just come from where I am going.”