Friends Lost to AIDS
Always Missed & Remembered!
This chapter is dedicated to the 22 of my
closest friends lost to AIDS, from a Circle of 23. It is also dedicated to the other 118 friends who also lost their courageous battle against AIDS.
I cannot tell the complete story about myself without including this remembrance, as each of these men and women have played a role in my life and in some instances helped shape the man I am today. This will be a very simple page, no brilliant colors
or fancy graphics.
In the summerof 1980, I stood with my partner in New
York City's Central
Park attending a Memorial Service for those who had
died in NYC from AIDS complications. We had just lost our
first close friend. The numbers from across the
country were not yet 2000,
In the years that have followed, I have attended or
spoken at far too many of such Memorial Services. I
have stood by the bedside of
too many friends; kissing them a final farewell
holding their hands or giving a last hug as they have
taken their last breaths. Some deaths have been
peaceful while others have been agonizing...the
results the same...I
lost a FRIEND!
Though they have gone, some for many years now...I
have not, nor will not, ever forget them. Each of them, in
a special way, was a part of my life.
I continue to fight, along with so many others, to
find a cure for AIDS and to see that those living
with AIDS get the treatment, love and respect they so
richly deserve...no matter how they got it! I hope
that someday soon, we can put this dreaded illness
behind us. Until then, we must ALL fight the fight.
Too many, not just our community, have lost the fight
to AIDS; too many in the prime of their lives. We
cannot afford to lose or give up our fight.
This chapter is a time for me to remember my friends in
a public way..I quietly and privately remember them each day. It is
also a time I want to allow you, the visitor to my
page, to remember those whom you have lost.
Take a few minutes as you listen to the music, read
the words and remember your friends. Remember the
good times you shared, the laughter, the sorrows and
yes the very reasons they were called your friends,
family member or in many cases, life partner. Don't ever forget
them and don't let others forget them either. They
were real people and should not be remembered as a
statistic compiled by the government.
To all of my friends, especially the Circle of 23, including Mark...the first of
so many close friends to fight the fight and to meet
death... looking from wherever they may be...YOU are
Missed, Remembered and Will NEVER be Forgotten!
The Circle of 23 began forming in 1972 as a group of
close friends that would go to dinner, theater,
concerts, Fire Island
and various outdoor trips. Death from AIDS
complications began overtaking our group in 1980 and
twenty-three years later there was but one...me. I am the sole survivor and have not contracted HIV.
I miss my friends greatly. I think of all the times
we spent together and it brings tears of joy as well
as those of sadness. Each was truly a friend and a part of
my life. I was very blessed with such a group!
I was privileged to be with each of the 22, except Gavin,
during the final moments of life. Each a memory I
will never forget. I gave the eulogy at each of their
Celebrations of Life. Gavin, after struggling for
almost 14 years, took his own life on June 13,
I have lost, in the many years of this battle, a
total of 140 friends, each whom was a son, daughter,
husband, father, wife, mother, brother, sister or life partner of
Each touched the lives of many during their all too
brief lifetimes...each should be REMEMBERED not
FORGOTTEN! They were not a government statistic, but very real
people and with this page, I remember each.
I have purposely chosen not to reveal the last names,
to allow them to rest and their families to have
peace. There are still hate mongers in the world...if
any hate is to be expressed I'd rather it be at me
and not those lost or their loved ones.
I began this chapter on February 10, 1998. I have had to let it sit many times, as the pain was too much to bear at one time. Many tears of joy and sadness have been shed during its creation. May it, in a small way, allow you to remember and never forget those you may have lost.
PRAYER OF REMEMBRANCE
Today I remember my friends. Gone from my life, but not forgotten.
I remember each for the love, friendship, joy and yes, even sadness, they brought into my life. I am a better person for each having been a part of my life...even but for a brief time.
I ask that You wrap your arms of Love and Mercy around each, as they have returned home to You
Some died without family or friends at their sides, but I am glad none died alone...for You were at their side
Give them the peace and rest they have earned. Each in their own way fought a valiant fight against AIDS,
but at last they are home with You.
Let them know, though they are gone from our midst...they are REMEMBERED not FORGOTTEN.
May You grant them the peace and love they so richly deserve; some not receiving either in their lifetime.
May you grant them each eternal rest.
The American Flag flies to remember 27 of those listed here who answered the call and put on the uniform of their nation.
Some fought in Vietnam, Panama and Desert Storm.
Five were buried without military honors due to dishonorable discharges because they were gay. They were trained to kill another man, but could not be allowed to love one!
I proudly recognize and honor their service to this nation!
* denotes Circle of 23
Here are a couple of newspaper pictures and excerpts of articles from my past involvement in various AIDS programs. I still participate in some, but reduced the amount of time spent back in 1998. After 18 years, I was totally burned out physically, as well as emotionally, and could not go on any further without taking time to heal.
Larry Adams, who lost friend to AIDS, is consoled
The quilt is home. The Names Project's huge patchwork memorial to those who have died from AIDS is back in San Francisco's Moscone Center.
Streams of people poured into the convention hall Tuesday night to see the quilt that has grown fourfold since it was displayed here a year ago.
Emotional scenes were repeated all over the cavernous hall.
Larry Adams brought a handful of white carnations to place on several panels he had made for lost friends, including a close friend, Norman Luers, who recently died of AIDS. The two had visited the quilt during its Washington DC debut last year. Together, they designed Norman's panel, which includes a rainbow, pictures of teddy bears and a message that reads, "Still My Teddy Bear."
"Everything on there is everything he wanted," a grief-stricken Adams said.
Organizers estimate over 100,000 people will visit the quilt during the four day showing. The quilt includes 7,296 panels remembering a lost person to AIDS, weighing 14 tons.
Tuesday night's preview showing was slated as a reception of thanks for 1,500 people who volunteer in AIDS service programs around the Bay Area. "You are the heart, soul and the muscle" Cleve Jones, Executive Director Names Project, told the group of volunteers. "We dedicate this display to those we have lost...and we dedicate this to you."
The sea of volunteers, many who have themselves made panels for the quilt, clutched handkerchiefs and cried quietly and openly around the 2-1/2 miles of fabric that outlined the panels.
Adams, after being consoled, said, "We're losing a whole generation of talented young people, and all that's left is a name. It's awful..it has to end."
San Francisco Examiner 12/02/1989...A large crowd marches in a candlelight vigil to City Hall to listen to speakers memorialize those lost to AIDS commemorating World AIDS Day. (I am on left behind person in white shirt.)
The following picture/article was from The Salt Lake Tribune dated August 8, 1993.
Camp Pinecliff a retreat near Coalville, UT enjoying fellowship of loved ones.
To Nature To Escape Isolation of AIDS!
Coalville--AIDS has forced Jean to lead a double life. When the Salt Lake County woman first discovered she had AIDS...a few months before her husband died of the disease in 1988...she gave speeches warning others about the virus.
Her activism led to harassment and ostracism and forced her and her two daughters to go "underground."
"For every person with AIDS, there is a father, mother, brother, sister, spouse, partner or child also affected," said Larry Adams, a former Salt Lake man who has watched several friends die over the years. Recognizing that, organizers of this weekend's Camp Pinecliff retreat invited not only people with AIDS, but also families, friends and care givers.
Jean and Larry were among the 47 people who attended the camp some 18 miles southeast of Coalville.
Four years ago a similar camp was held but only for those with AIDS and a few nurses. "That was a mistake," Mr. Adams said Saturday. "What was done this time is open it up to non-infected people." "With others invited, campers with HIV don't feel stigmatized or isolated," said Mr. Adams, who helped organize the retreat.
The activity schedule look like any other camp agenda: hikes, volleyball, basketball and baseball. But there also were workshops on massage and stress management.
Adams said, "The community support made the retreat possible; Horizon House, People with AIDS Coalition and the MCC Church AIDS Ministry. Donations from area businesses and organizations, including $2,000 from the Salt Lake City mayor's office paid not only for this year's camp but will make next year's retreat also possible."
Support for the camp is encouraging, but Mr. Adams stated that the AIDS crisis is over 12 years old and many still do not treat people with AIDS, their partners and their families with sensitivity.
In the years that Mr. Adams has been involved in the AIDS movement, due to the deaths of several close friends, others assumed Mr. Adams also had AIDS (he does not) and ostracized him. "The gay community showed little more sensitivity than straight people did" he said.
Mr. Adams and Jean both watched long time friends stop visiting or even calling. Jean talks tearfully of feeling isolated in her home, pretending to be simply a Mormon homemaker. For one weekend though, due to the work of Mr. Adams and others, she and others can be themselves and not have to live a lie.
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