Chapter 21 » 21.68

Suffering and healing

Andrew’s dying was messy. We had to live with increasing weakness and incontinence, with pain, and with the irritations and discomforts of so many infections. We had to fight through it all, still holding hands, still loving.

Such things are hard, but few dyings are easy. Struggling with pain, fighting fear, mourning losses are indeed part of living. These do not make living with AIDS unique…

Let me say now that we have met only love from Friends – yet there are some to whom I have still not told the whole truth about Andrew’s death…

There are times in meetings for worship when I have sat shaking with the call to minister from our experience of living with HIV and AIDS, yet I have held back. I have held back because I have been afraid. Afraid that Friends will not hear my ministry for that word AIDS; afraid I might break the unity of meeting or might break friendships I cherish. I still do not know if these fears are justified, but they are real. Facing AIDS can be a chance to grow in the things of God, but it has also torn lives apart.

I loved Andrew. He died after living with AIDS. These are facts of my life. They are facts of the life of the Religious Society of Friends. In our living and loving and dying I have found much to cherish as well as much that hurts, found growth as well as loss. My hope is that together we can share these things, together hold them in worship, prayer and love.

Iain Law, 1991

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