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Family and Friends >> My Loved One Has HIV/AIDS

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Reged: 01/23/08
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Struggling with Dad's Loss & Secrets
      #235559 - 01/23/08 02:41 AM

My father died in June - having been in the hospital with Pneumonia since April. It was not until a few days before he died that the kids were told that he had AIDS. The stories are not clear - he knew about it for about 15 years, I think he didn't tell my mother until 8 years ago. There are so many unknowns - many questions have not been asked yet because my mother is still in mourning. How did he get it? (I am 99% sure that is was through a sexual encounter) Why did he wait so long to tell my mother? What held their relationship together?

I don't know how to get rid of some of my anger - was he lying to us? How are we supposed to share with family when he couldn't?

I guess my main question is - are there support groups for family members who have lost to AIDS? I mean - I think I would love to find one locally - but also, I would love to be able to talk through some of this.

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Reged: 09/01/07
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Re: Struggling with Dad's Loss & Secrets new
      #235603 - 01/24/08 05:43 AM

I am so sorry for your loss. Depending on where you live there are usually AIDS service organizations in the area. You can check "google: or give a ballpark where you live and maybe people here can help you with an organization that can help you.
No one knows why one chooses to keep their HIV status a secret, as Positive people we all have our own reasons and explanations. Its possible your Dad thought you would reject him or question how he got the disease, who knows his reasoning; maybe he didn't want you to worry everyday about his health. Regardless of the reasons that you will not know now..he was your Dad and hopefully through your anger you will find it in your heart to forgive him. Being HIV positive is very difficult, despite how society has evolved there is a still a lot of malice and prejudice when it comes to this disease.
Again I am very sorry for your loss (and your Mom's).
Take care.
Bernie (bernadine)

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Reged: 11/11/07
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Re: Struggling with Dad's Loss & Secrets new
      #235605 - 01/24/08 08:01 AM

Hey there BabuGirl. First and formost, I'm sorry to hear about your loss. As far as support groups, Bernie made a good suggestion by 'googling' it. I'm neg and I date a pos. We have both been looking for support groups that have anything to do with HIV/AIDS but have been unsuccesful. Best idea is to find a counseler or therapist to talk to. You're welcome to stick around here and talk too! I've found this site very helpful and am greatful for it. Good luck, and stick around. Let us know if you find any groups!

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Reged: 12/21/05
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Re: Struggling with Dad's Loss & Secrets new
      #235617 - 01/24/08 03:33 PM

I have personally known of a similar situation. If I am correct some my partner's family took this as a sign that they had an opportunity to discover what their father/uncle was really like. The others just pretended it didnt happen and went on with their lives.
The mans daughter went looking for the male "lover" her father kept on the side. I dont think she ever found him. But it was not for revenge she did that. It was to try to talk to him about her father and find out what that side of him was like. As I remember it, my partner and I became close to her because she and my partner were cousins. My partner has long since died and I have lost contact with her. I hope by being around us she was able to see that love knows no boundaries. Who one falls in love with and who one "marries" might be one and the same but in some cases ....not.
Its sad that people still lead double lives. In keeping information from you he was not trying to hurt you. On the contrary...he was trying to keep that side of himself invisible to you.
Its understandable that you should be angry. But I can assure you that its necessary to find a way to forgive him.
Going to a support group does help. Seeing a therapist is often covered by insurance.
I wish you peace.

6 ft tall poz bear in Philadelphia

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Reged: 12/24/07
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Re: Struggling with Dad's Loss & Secrets new
      #236030 - 01/31/08 09:22 AM

I too am sorry about your loss.
I wanted to address some of your anger. I am unclear about what you are most angry about. If it is because he didn't share his positive status, I have some ideas about that.
I have had to make decisions for my HIV positive daughter who is only 4. In trying to do the right thing by her, I have really had to take a close look at my reasons for sharing or not. I determined that it is HER story and not mine.
I asked myself questions like if I was positive, would I share and why or why not? The truth is that I am a pretty private person. I am also a person who wants to be accepted and doesn't want to disappoint.
HIV is something that carries stigma and blame and causes fear (and irrational behavior) in others. None of the things I would be looking for, but all very real possibilities.
If I were to share, there isn't anything that any of my friends or family members could do for me in a medical way. All I could do is elicit feelings in them and those feeling could be ones that don't show support to my situation, and could bring additional stress to me or my family.
When my daughter becomes an adult, she will choose her own path. As a mom I hope that the stigma will be gone, or at the very least, a much smaller issue. If not, I pray that she is very careful about who she shares this with, because people can be cruel and she is my baby.
Perhaps your father didn't want to worry or alienate you. Maybe he chose to be private about it, because there was no reason for you to know. Maybe he thought knowing he was HIV positive would put undue stress on you. Perhaps he thought you would condemn him for something that he did years ago and he already felt a great deal of pain or regret about it. Maybe he didn't have any kind of sexual encounter, but knew that would be what everyone would assume.
My opinion is that you do not need to share this with your family. Some may want to condemn him or may remember him for the way he died, instead of his contributions to this world. Protect him from that and don't share how he died. If you need to talk about it, talk to your mom, a friend that you can confide in or a therapist.
Again, I am sorry for your loss.

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