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ready to die but afraid of going to hell
Feb 22, 2000

I got HIV within the past year and found out about 7 months ago. Physically I'm fine, but my partner of 10 years won't come near me (he's negative still thank God) and this among other things is making me feel very isolated. My elderly mother lives with us and needs a lot of care since she is quite ill. I don't want her to find out that I have HIV because I know she would not be able to handle it and she really doesn't have much longer to live anyway. I can't tell anyone else in my family either because then she would definitely find out. So, I have to hang in there until she dies, but after that I think it would be a lot better if I just died because then my partner could get on with his life without feeling guilty about leaving me. Since I'm already probably going to hell, does it matter if I commit suicide or will this just make it worse, or is there only one hell? Exactly how bad is it and can it be any worse than what I'm going through? I'll make it look like an accident and I'll definitely wait until after my mother dies to minimize the hurt to others, so the issue really is just what would happen to me.

Response from Father DeMartini

Dear Friend---Thanks for your honesty. You are very concerned about your mom finding out about your HIV status because of the stress this might cause her. Think of what stress she would feel if she knew her son was contemplating ending his life! I regret that your partner is not able to give you support at this time and it may be that the relationship may have to change. However, I sincerely hope and pray that there are other people in your life with whom you could be honest and who would offer support and hope. If you want, I may be able to put you in contact with someone in your area who can be of assistance to you. You can contact me at ncan@sonic.net and I will try to help with a referral. In the meantime, please try to believe that forgiveness is not an empty promise for God--all God asks is that we are honest with ourselves and God and are sorry for what harm we brought to ourselves or others. Your life with HIV can have a future and a promise and I know there are many people who also journey with HIV, face misunderstanding and fear and still value their lives and the potential of each day. I pray that this attitude and grace be yours as well. Fr. Rod



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