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My Father

My father was my best friend. I could tell him anything and I knew that he would not judge me for it. He loved me, unconditionally and I have not found that kind of love since he passed. My father died on October 19, 1994 of the AIDS. We found out about a year before that he was infected. He had gotten sick and was admitted to the hospital. They took some test and finally they found out what was wrong. I went to see my dad in the hospital thinking that he just had a really bad cold or something. I can remember it like it was yesterday, my cousin was with me. I walked into the room alone and I saw him laying there. I gave him a kiss and we began to talk. He told me about his drug use and how he never wanted anything bad to happen to me. He told me that he loved me, this I already knew. The last thing that he said was "I have AIDS." He told me that I was going to have to be strong because he needed me to be strong for him. I didn't cry in his hospital room, but as soon as I got in the hallway I began to cry. I got on the elevator with my cousin and I told her that my daddy was going to die. She just held me. That night I was in my room and I was crying and my mom came in and asked me if I would have rather my dad had not told me. I said no because then it would eat him up inside. We were open with each other and that is part of the reason I loved him so much. After that my father and I were still close but we did have our disagreements. My best friend died around the time that we found out about my dad, so this was a very hard time for me. I will never forget the words my dad said to me as I sat on our steps crying over the loss of my friend he said, "Shugg you don't have to die just because he did. One day I am going to be gone and you are going to have to be strong." That was the best advice anyone has ever given me and it lives in my heart. It was hard seeing my father die of that horrible disease but it made me stronger. Most of all though it taught me that life is more than who you love it is about how you love. I miss my father everyday. This disease destroyed a wonderful man and it will continue to tear down families, people, souls, and hearts if we don't start living smart. AIDS does not have a color, race, sexual orientation or gender. It can happen to the best and worst of us.
Please know that and live it.

Sent via e-mail December, 2000.

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