“Mom, I’m HIV-positive.”
When I hear those words,
I want to grab all the best experts and latest practices,
to advocate for human rights and access to care,
and to reject HIV criminalization.
But most of all, I want to hold you close in a big hug.
I want you to know
that you are loved
no less than you have always been
Your strengths can’t be taken from you--
You flash with energy even while standing still.
You excel in languages,
and in your studies.
What are you most proud of about yourself?
Your kindness? Your courage? Your perseverance?
What’s your most difficult choice that you’ve had to make
to fulfill your destiny?
You’re still the best person to do this.
Sharing birthdays, pivotal moments and jokes
I honor your life.
Everyone’s read about it but experiencing HIV is different.
We can talk about it or we can
not talk about it.
We need to ask what you need and then really listen
with our hearts.
So, how are you learning to breathe again?
You have to know it’s possible.
There is always hope.
Everyone wants to know that we matter.
That’s an amazing gift to give--
People who show up for you.
We will get through this.
In everyone’s life, at some time,
our inner fire bursts into flame
by an encounter with another human being.
You create and direct ARSA.
Cycling annually across South Africa
to help end the suffering caused by this pandemic;
to spark understanding
for millions of men, women and children
living with HIV and AIDS;
through education and awareness,
opening the door for people to speak to one another,
kicking stigma out of a lot of fearful rooms.
Inspired by love your mission cannot fail.
We’ll keep cycling until we find a cure.
What’s the best piece of advice you received
that you actually followed?
What does it mean to you to hear the truth:
you are a miracle come true for us!
Whose life was changed by you?
How many other lives does one life impact
that we never will know?
Janice S. Urbsaitis