|Please Pray for my Daughter
Jun 21, 2001
Three months ago my seventeen year old daughter tested postive for the AIDS virus. My husband and I are very concerned about her because she has started isolating herself from her friends and staying indoors and sleeping constantly. She is seeing a counselor but we have yet to see any improvement in her mood. This Thanksgiving I tried to wake my daughter up and talk her into to comming with us to her aunts house for dinner and to see her cousins. She refused to come and when I asked her why she said "I don't feel very thankful this year mom" and began crying so hard it was frightening to me. To add to my guilt I feel responsible for my daughter contracting HIV. When she was 16 years old she told me she was having sex with the boy she has been going steady with since she was 14 years old. I took her to the doctors to get a perscription for birth control pills. HIV didn't enter my mind. I want to ask you to please pray for my family that we might be forgiven and grow stronger. Thank you for taking the time to read my letter.
Response from Rabbi Sacks-Rosen
Thank you for writing. I may not be understanding everything. You tell me that your daughter found out she was HIV-positive three months ago. Six months ago she would not attend a Thanksgiving dinner at her aunt's house. I am not sure why. Was her decision to stay behind on Thanksgiving unrelated to HIV? Or did she find out her HIV-status longer than three months ago?
It sounds as if at Thanksgiving she may have only recently found out her HIV status and had not had much time to adjust. Each person is different as to how they adjust and within what time frame.
Her isolation, staying indoors and lack of sleeping may be due to a depression. I remain hopeful that her counselor is on top of this. If she were experiencing a depressive state, it would not be unnatural or uncommon. For many, an antidepressant can help get one through this period. Whatever her condition, I trust she is availing herself of all such readily available help for herself.
She will, of course, need the love and support of friends. I hope she is doing at least somewhat better now--not only on the physical front, but with her life attitude. With all of the advanced therapies and treatments, and with research continuing, I have no reason but to feel your daughter has a long, bright future ahead of her.
As for you, I do not understand why you feel guilty. You sound as if you feel your daughter contracted the HIV virus as a punishment for your taking her to a doctor to discuss birth control. Let me assure you that there is no connection whatsoever.
You sound to me like a loving caring mom, who is part of a loving caring family. The world needs more moms like you and more families like yours.
God is not cruel nor sadistic, but a God who is "compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands." God is the One who sees us through life. And I have no doubt that right now God is caring about you and your family.
See if there is a local healing circle in your area. I think you would probably benefit a great deal. In addition, you may wish to see your local spiritual mentor/pastor or a therapist.
I wish you and your family the best. You are surely in my prayers and in my heart. God bless you.
How to stop punishing ourselves?
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