Print this page    •   Back to Web version of article

Remembering Bonnie

By Aless Piper

January 6, 2012

First and foremost, what I remember about Bonnie is that she was persistent and for that, I am so very grateful.

During the summers of 2006, 2007 and 2008, my stepfather drove me to work every morning, and every morning he asked me the same question: What do you want to do (with your life)? Every morning I would give one unsatisfactory answer after the other, eventually defaulting to "I don't know," although I knew I wanted to do something AIDS-related, study sociology and write. My indecision somehow led to me enroll in career college in November 2008 to become an office assistant because, as my stepfather said, I had to do something.

By the next summer my time at career college was almost finished. I was always done with my work early which unfailingly gave me an abundance of time to do my own thing, which frequently involved surfing Twitter and TheBody.com; and in July I retweeted a tweet by someone I wasn't following and had heard of but wasn't really sure how or where or why, named Bonnie Goldman. It said: "My first blog! Check it out. www.thebody.com/content/art52876.html #HIV #AIDS"

I read that article, then read it again, and again, and that same day sent a message: "I am wondering how I can become a blogger for TheBody.com. I have been involved in HIV/AIDS activism for 12 years and am really looking to expand my activities in a positive, global way. Thanks!"

An hour later Bonnie replied: "Hi Aless: Thanks for writing! Give me your phone number and let me know a good time and we can talk."

But before I was a blogger for TheBody.com, during those first, tentative emails to Bonnie, I was a scared 20-something who saw this (blogging for TheBody.com) as a big and intimidating step. So after I sent off a resume, my number, and Edward's reference letter just for good measure (I really wanted this!), I sent another email that said the opposite, that I'd changed my mind. She replied, in part:

"... I think you'd be great. You should just do it ... we need young people to speak out and inspire others. Please reconsider. ... We need more people like you!"

I am endlessly grateful for the gift Bonnie gave me when she urged me to reconsider; of course I did. What I got in return was that elusive community Ned Weeks longed for in The Normal Heart, one of passionate, wonderful individuals committed to spreading the truth, and ending AIDS, and something I love to do with all my heart (blog for TheBody.com). And now I will not get to thank her. I thought, as so many do so often, that there would be more time.

Bonnie's last email to me ended: "Best of luck and I hope you regularly write blogs! Your voice is important."

It's only been a day since I found out and I already miss her voice and her presence, and the fact that there will never be anything new from her now.

Rest in peace, Bonnie; you will not be forgotten.

Send Aless an email.

Get email notifications every time Aless' blog is updated.


You can find this article online by typing this address into your Web browser:
http://www.thebody.com/content/65328/remembering-bonnie.html

General Disclaimer: TheBody.com is designed for educational purposes only and is not engaged in rendering medical advice or professional services. The information provided through TheBody.com should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease. It is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, consult your health care provider.