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The Truth is not to be liked or not ...
Jan 22, 2007

Dear Dr. Bob,

I have been reading your forum avidly for the past couple of months, having come across it by accident when surfing the web obsessively for information to calm - or otherwise - my mind about potential ARS symptoms. Mine is a long (and tediously boring) history of HIV paranoia, which was whipped up into quite a spectacular finale recently (for once it was rooted in reality) by an unprotected relationship with a man who was inordinately beautiful, highly sexed and very promiscuous, as I later found out, not long before he told me he had tested positive for an STD. After we split up I waited for 4 months - only just refraining from sending you a "what do you REALLY think my risk is?" question - then tested negative last Friday.

And this really is the point: it was your comment "The truth is not to be liked or not, it is to be known" (I'm not sure if that is verbatim) that propelled me into doing it. I also love your George Bernard Shaw quote, and your thoughts about the "real" dimension of time - depth not width. How true. In my diary I have a quote by the Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh, who wrote "To know fully even one field, or one piece of land, is a lifetime's experience. In the world of poetic experience it is the depth that counts, not width. A gap in the hedge, a smooth rock surfacing at a narrow lane, a view of a woody meadow ... these are as much as a man can fully experience."

May I say thank you so very much for your time, patience, humour, levity, strength and compassion that pervades all these messages. If you are ever in England I would love to buy you lunch by way of a "thank you" for the comfort I've taken from the sanity of your enlightened responses!

With all the very best for a fulfilling and happy 2007 to you and to Dr. Steve.

English girl.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello English Girl,

My exact comment was: "The truth is not to be liked or not. But rather the truth is to be known!"

I also continue to believe we measure life in the wrong dimension. Life should not be measured in length, but rather in depth. My brother's life ended today. His life was not long. He is/was a mere 22 months older than me. Though not long, his life was deep with compassion and generosity. His life was a brilliant success in terms eloquently descried by Emerson below:

"To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived; this is to have succeeded."

-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

My brother taught me many things, including some of the wisdom I try to impart in my responses on this site.

His is missed beyond words.

English Girl, thank you for your kind comments and perspectives on life --- an all too brief gift that we must not waste on needless worry or trivial pursuits.

Dr. Bob



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