Since moving back to the states, I've been meaning to visit the Aids Memorial Grove in Golden Gate Park. I've walked by a few times en route to the Inner Richmond or to the Dutch wind mills or what ever else and I forget to really stop and be present. I think I've sort of skipped over this place because to be there makes me feel incredibly sad and I resist feeling that way.
My Uncle Gerry, who would have been 73 this past January, died of HIV-related causes in 1986. His death marked the early end of an epidemic that spanned many years, beginning in the early-80s, killing approximately 15,000 men in San Francisco before drug treatments helped to contain the disease. Sometimes, when I see gay men who appear to be around Gerry's age it makes me feel both glad to see them alive and wish my Uncle were still here. I wish he'd lived long enough to have been able to be helped by AZT and other medications that were a boon to many HIV positive men.
|Uncle Gerry, his arm 'round Uncle Jim.|
I imagine Uncle Gerry and, his partner, Uncle Ric at their apartment on Fulton St. I imagine theirs a happy and full life. -maybe they spend summers in Guerneville, a No. California town where they'd lived for some years in the 70s before returning to San Francisco. What I imagine most is that the family could have had just a little more time with its son/brother/cousin/uncle. My next trip to the city will include a pointed visit to the Grove and thoughts of dear Uncle Gerry.
|Uncle Ric, lookin' good, ca. 1980.|