Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Another AIDS Walk in memory of Felix Godinez

This coming Saturday is the 24th Annual AIDS Walk Colorado, the largest HIV/AIDS fundraiser in the state.

Once again, I will be walking in memory of my dear friend Felix Godinez. My walk fundraising page is here just in case you would like to make a donation: http://tinyurl.com/3wjpm79 The money raised goes to support people living with HIV or AIDS in Colorado and to support HIV prevention campaigns. I am walking with and supporting the team from Boulder County AIDS Project.

My memories of Felix are part of my everyday life.

I can remember the singing like it was yesterday. “Star” by Erasure cranks from my bedroom stereo while Felix and I are singing and dancing to our hearts’ contents. At that time I had no clue that Andy Bell was gay or that one day our lives would be connected by HIV, yet his music touched me and was a part of my daily life.

Felix probably didn’t count Erasure as one of his favorite bands back in 1991, but nonetheless he realized that I loved them, and once I heard an Erasure dance song, there was no stopping me. So he would just join in.

The house on Estabrook was home. A bit emptier in the later part of ’91 as our housemate Tim (and Felix’s life mate) had lost his battle with HIV/AIDS in March of that year. Yet for us, as many others affected by HIV/AIDS, life went on.

On July 6, 1992, Felix lost his battle with HIV/AIDS after about a ten-day stay at Portsmouth Naval Hospital. He was 30 years old the day he died. That day I lost a dear friend, a brother, a man so loved in his community that a cloud of sadness engulfed us for weeks. Several days after his death, in a standing-room only space filled with people who loved Felix, I sat and listened as dozens of people told Felix’s story through their eyes and life experiences. I’d had many similar experiences and felt an overwhelmingly strong sense of gratitude that I had even
known him and been able to have him as a part of my life.

To have Felix as a friend would forever change your life. Felix loved everyone. He would do anything for anyone. He was the best friend you could ever have. If Felix hugged you, you felt hugged. And loved. And like someone cared about you and what was going on in your life. His laugh would echo through a room or our house. His presence not only changed my life, but also changed everyone who knew him.

Eighteen years after Felix’s death, I posted a note about him and the anniversary of his death on Facebook. Several people who knew him also posted a comment. I have also been contacted by old friends of Felix that I didn't know, like an old fraternity brother who told me that Felix's nickname was "Fish". We all remember him. I think about Felix on an almost daily basis -- not in sadness or
loss, but in gratitude and appreciation.

I remember Felix. Who do you remember? I walk in memory of Felix.

We’ve lost so many loved ones, and we continue to lose them. As the years go by, I have many times wondered if one day, the world would no longer know that Feliz Godinez lived; that he brought so much to this world; and that his death meant that we as a community had lost something so big that we would never be the same.

AIDS is not over. HIV transmission continues in large numbers not only here but throughout the US.

Thank you for reading this blog post. Here's that link to my walk fundraising page again: http://tinyurl.com/3wjpm79


  1. I'm so sorry you lost your friend. My brother also lost many friends in the 80's/90's and I remember being so struck when I'd compliment him on some new piece of clothing only to hear it was from yet another friend that died and left it to him ... I can't imagine the sadness of seeing someone you love that much suffer and die, particularly when they were so young with such promising gifts to give the world. Sometimes things make no sense.

  2. I am sorry for your loss....If this is the same Felix Godinez that I knew back in the late 80s in Norfolk VA....You are right, the world lost a special person...Wont get into how exactly we knew each other (not nice to delve into ones personal life) but the approximate 2 years I knew him were special...we were even roommates for a while in Norfolk...even as we parted ways we remained friendly up until I got transferred out to California in 1990...he was a special man

    1. Thanks so much for writing this! Indeed must be the same beautiful man. Hard to believe it's almost been 24 years without him. Thanks again.