Mexico

Mexico
Protesting in Mexico City against the murder of 43 students.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

20 years without Felix

Every once in a while I think about the old days. Specifically my thoughts go to a dance bar in Norfolk and my head fills with songs from New Order, Madonna, Yaz, Depeche Mode, Erasure and Dead or Alive. I close my eyes and see a dance floor filled with men, and remember many faces of old friends.

As the 90's began, more and more of those men lost their battle with HIV/AIDS.

I still remember so many of them like it was just this past weekend that we danced, went to a meeting, had dinner or went to a drag show.

One of those who lost his battle was my dear friend Felix. He died on July 6, 1992. It's difficult to believe that he has been gone for 20 years.

Felix was one of the most loving, caring, fun and kind men I have ever met. When he passed away, the world changed. My world definitely changed. Gone was a the man who taught me so much, mainly about love and friendship. He taught me how to love everyone. And if you have ever gotten a hug from me, the hug that holds hard and lasts a bit longer than your average hug, well I got that from Felix. A lot of who I am today came from or was inspired by Felix.

There have been very few days in the last 20 years that I haven't thought of him. I carry a drawing of him at AIDS walks. I often think about how he would react to a person or situation. And I am always totally grateful for having known him.

In 1992, Felix was one of over 40,000 people in the US, the majority gay men, who died from complications caused by AIDS. It would be a couple of years yet until the drug cocktails came around and saved the lives of hundreds of thousands. Nevertheless, over 17,000 people in the US died from complications due to AIDS in 2010.

I remember Tidewater AIDS Crisis Taskforce in Norfolk, VA and the many times I was there to help, to drop off a wheelchair, to get a prescription, to see a friend perhaps for the last time. I remember seeing the list of those who had died in the last week or month, and the many hours spent in hospitals. (TACT is now Eastern Virginia AIDS Network http://evanva.org/ )

And, back to this anniversary, I remember Felix. My dear, loving friend whom I still miss so much 20 years later. I know many of you have experienced loss. And I know the loss is always felt. How fortunate was I to know Felix!

Thank you for reading my blog post. This one was one of my toughest as my eyes fill with tears. My email address is vegandude@msn.com if you would like to share thoughts that you don't want to put in the comments section.

15 comments:

  1. I'm sorry for your loss, Dan. It's apparent that Felix was very inspirational to you while he was alive, and his inspiration shines through you, even 20 years after his passing. He lives through you, and through others he's touched so deeply, and that's a beautiful thing. It's obvious that he was a wonderful guy because you are as well. Much love to you, buddy!

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  2. Tears. Thanks for sharing a beautiful remembrance of your friend.

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  3. Thank you so much for sharing something so personal & beautiful.

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  4. Thank you for your remembrance. I was still a little girl in the early 90s, way too young to have any understanding or awareness of HIV/AIDS. Your writing helps to keep Felix's memory alive, and it also serves as a powerful testimony for those of us who did not experience the waves of deaths. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been. -Julie Gonzales

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  5. Thank you for writing this post. What a wonderful way to remember Felix and share him with us. Impossible not to cry while reading it, but how lovely to have you carry his memory with you daily and great affect he had on your life.

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  6. Many thanks to all of you for your loving comments!

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  7. Wow, as I sat here perusing countless blogs for amazing vegan recipes, I came across your page and this was the first post I saw. Immediately my heart began to ache reading this and remembering my own uncle who lost his battle with AIDs in 1996. reading your thoughts and feelings about Felix sent a chill through me, so much of what you said mirrors my own relationship with my uncle and although I can look back after all these years with more gratidude than anger not a day goes by that I don't miss the wonderful man that shaped my life in so many ways. Thank you.

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    1. Elissa! Thank you so much for connecting with me and sharing your story. Sending lots of love.

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  8. I lost my uncle in 2010. He fought AIDS for many, many years. He was (and still is) one of the most influential and inspiring people in my life. I miss him every day.

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    1. Thank you Amanda. It's so important that we keep their memory alive.

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  11. So sorry about Felix. I lost a very dear male friend who was gay to AIDS back in the 1980's and I still miss him today. My husband and I volunteer with AIDS patients in honor of him. I took care of my friend because he was abandoned by his other "friends" and even his relatives so I got to see AIDS up close, a lot closer than I liked. I want to see AIDS destroyed forever along with cancer and Alzheimer's and the neuromuscular diseases that have robbed me of people I love. A big hug to you. May Felix and my own friend and those I have worked to help over the years who have lost the battle with AIDS rest in peace and may we always remember and honor them.

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  12. Very true. I just got a hug from you today at VegFest and it was long and warm. I had no idea I was getting hugged by Felix as well. :-)
    Nice to see you both again.

    I know what you are feeling. I have lost loved ones to AIDS, and they live on in me every day. Dave in Boulder

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  13. Oh, how I understand the emotions you describe in this post. I lost my brother to AIDS in 2001 (he was only 36) and there is not a day that goes by that I don't miss him. I am so very thankful that my boys were able to have their uncle around for the time they did. Losing him was so much harder than we could even imagine -- but his fighting spirit and humor lives on in us.

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