I wanted to write this article in honor of a friend of mine who is living with a terminal illness. My friend has A.I.D.S. Idon’twant to write about the illness itself, but rather the emotional and spiritual aspect of this illness.

I hadn’t seen my friend in over 10 years, and it just so happened that I got a hold of his phone number and when I arrived in Montreal I called him. He picked me up at the metro and when I saw him 1 could not help but feel this overwhelming sadness. My childhood friend with whom I grew up with has AIDS, how do you deal with something like that? My tears fell when I hugged him, he was so small, so thin, he commented “It’s hard I know.” When we got to his place, we had a lot to talk about, we reminisced about our childhood, we laughed, there was a lot of mixed emotions. I could not help but shed tears every now and then because I knew my friend had an illness that as of today, has no known cure.

At one time he told me he was afraid of dying and that he didn’t want to die. What do you say to a friend who says that to you? I responded with tears. My friend was hurting and I could not find the right words to say. I could not help but feel this strong feeling of grief, because when we were growing up he was like a brother to me. I was kind of distressed with myself because I had not educated myself enough about this illness and I could not say anything to him that would make him feel better. But he cleared that up by telling me that the fear he has also had balance, fear with acceptance, he said that he looks at the world differently, because of his experience with this illness, he has learned to appreciate the world more. He talked about love and how he loves everybody and that he does not judge anybody.

My friend is Native, he cannot go home because there are no resources for people living with AIDS where he is from. He needs to be treated in the city. He said he also sees a psychologist to help him deal with the emotional pain he feels.

He said his family is very supportive towards him and that’s good, we all need family to stand by us in everything we go through and do.

So in conclusion to this story, I would just like to say Thank-you to my friend for having faith in me by sharing his feelings and allowing me to write this story in The Nation. My friend made me realize that no matter what we go through in our lives we still have to wake up each morning and appreciate what life has to offer that day. And that each end of the day Give Thanks to the Creator God for that day.

Respect what has been given to you, respect the life that you are given. This is what my friend has taught me.