It's OK

Posted by Pozziepinoy on 7:13 PM

Bound by each other's arms, as we formed a circle, tears started flowing from "Sandra's" eyes and dripped on to the floor while we were lead to a prayer of healing. I tried to hold back the tears as I was facilitating the TRR Family Support Group (SGT). Afterwards she started to burst, and said "I knew it! I knew that's his disease... I knew that he is gay but he should have told us this (HIV)! The doctor's said that we all should be ready now..."

When it comes to HIV and AIDS, the family, most of the time, is the last to know. More heartbreaking when the person is already unconscious as opportunistic infections caused by his weakened immune system continue to batter his weak body. The family, confused, though with an inkling of what's going on, continues to hope for the better however though looks for guidance and understanding as to why things are happening. Standing on unknown territory, family members start to question everything. "Why did this happen? Why did you hide it from us?" 

"Sandra's" eyes were swelling with tears as I handed her my handkerchief. She finally understood it after we discussed our topic of acceptance. The letters the participants wrote for their confined loved one, during the Music Therapy part, broke her heart's silence. 

"Bakla na nga, may HIV pa! (Gay and with HIV!)" We reverberated this line as we explained what most people with HIV think of what other people will slam to their faces when they will disclose their HIV status, even their families. Some who are not "out" would really have a hard time, what more, disclosing their HIV status.

Our TRR Care Manager Gerald interjected this fact, which he always observes in the wards. That "it is more than the disease that we are dealing with.. it's also accepting the person's sexuality." Dr. Katherine Cosca who joined the SGT also said that the physical pain is compounded by the pain in his heart. 

Comforted by our words of advice, "Sandra" then understood what she needed to do. Acceptance of his Tito and his disease will give her Tito the peace and courage to fight back. We told her to say to him, that "Tanggap ka namin dahil mahal ka namin (We accept you because we love you).

Dr. Cosca, said that patients die fast because they lose the will to live. However, the family can give it back this will: acceptance of his sexuality and his disease, and that everything is okay.

I once watched this very famous movie, Patch Adams by the late Robin Williams. Actually, this movie touched me in so many ways and I am patterning Project Red Ribbon with it. During his deliberation in front of the medical board, he delivered these famous lines:

You treat a disease, you win, you lose;
You treat a person, I guarantee you,
You'll win no matter what the outcome.

Love transcends. It creates miracles. It can strengthen the weakest heart. May the Tito of "Sandra" smile back with every comforting word, with every hand squeeze that his family will do, with all the love his family will give him. It's OK.


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