Today is World AIDS Day.
Here's what I wrote last year about my brother, Danny, and his death.
It comes to me, now and again, all of the other memories that I could have shared in that original post...about how Danny looked so eerily similar to Tom Hanks' character in Philadelphia just before he died (and how that movie just reduces me to pretty much a sniveling ball of memories and tears), or how sometimes he would come home to visit without telling anyone and it wasn't uncommon to find him walking up the road to our house to surprise Mom. How he introduced me to chicken in peanut sauce (which I thought was just one of his quirky, fancy New York City recipes that I found utterly revolting at the time and now absolutely love) or, how I confided in my favorite teacher what was going on because I just needed someone to talk to about the insanity that was having a loved one die at home and he immediately went to "warn" the principal of the school and I had never, ever felt so betrayed or hurt before (it was 1988, people were still freaked the hell out about AIDS, but I was beyond devastated that someone I trusted could do such a thing).
Mostly, though, I remember the beauty, love and self-sacrifice that my family poured into Danny's care and, ultimately, his death.
I cannot believe that it has been over 20 years. The memories are still so sharp and his absence is still keenly felt, especially at this time of year.