May 18, 2011

May 18, 2011
Remembering A Friend

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Wednesday and we have almost made it through the middle of another work week. I hope you have been having a safe and great week so far. It has been another busy week for Dab the AIDS Bear and me.

I received some very sad news yesterday that another good friend had passed away during surgery. I had known Eugene for almost ten years. We had worked together on several initiatives, boards and the Jacksonville World AIDS Week together for several years.

Eugene was one of the unlucky ones who did not have contact with his family because they could not accept his HIV status or his sexual orientation. While I know both issues are still very stigmatized in the African American community, I am surprised at how a family can distance themselves for their child.

I know I could never turn my back on my child and I am so glad my family is also the same way. They have always been in my corner no matter what.

Eugene was the type of person who could light up a room with his smile, entertain a crowd when he would break into a song and was always there for anyone who need him. He will be missed by so many people.

He was also a tireless advocate for our community. With determination and single minded attention, he work work endlessly to help others get into services and receive the life saving care they needed.

So I will remember Eugene for all the good times, laughter and other memories we shared while we knew each other. I also wish him many happy times singing on clouds and to rest in peace until we see each other again.

I have an interview and filming for the Miami Herald this afternoon. With the CDC thirtieth anniversary of HIV and AIDS coming up, the interview request are stacking up. While I am honored to be remembered for my work for our community, it has made for a very hectic and tiring schedule when added to all of my normal appearances, meetings and other activities.

But I must admit I am still grateful to be here since I never ever dreamed I would still be alive thirty years later after being told I probably would not live to see my twentieth birthday.

So get out there today and live your life. Remember to tell those close to you that you love them. You never know when you might not get another chance.

And to Eugene... I love you brother! Until we meet again; wishing all of you health, hope, happiness and just enough.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab