My Fabulous Disease
On Board the 2012 HIV Cruise Retreat
A Video Blog
By Mark S. King
November 7, 2012
Richard is handsome and adorably shy. His sister began emailing me a few months ago, wondering if her brother might enjoy the HIV Cruise Retreat, because he isn't able to disclose his status comfortably in his fairly small town.
On the last night of the cruise I gave him an award for "Sweetest Backstory," explaining to the crowd that his cruise ticket was a Christmas gift from his sister, who clearly loves him very much. He accepted the award -- just a silly way to acknowledge various people on the ship really -- with tears streaming down his face, while dozens upon dozens of new friends applauded heartily.
It is that fellowship, that embrace of our lives and all that we are, that best describes the week-long event on the high seas.
Episode 43: On Board the 2012 HIV Cruise Retreat
For seven days, I lived in a state of enhanced gratitude. For my life, my health, and for the people who organize the retreat.
Sailing from Ft. Lauderdale to various islands of the Caribbean, the Cruise Retreat included more than 200 gay men, women and our supporters. We feasted on non-stop food and the loving embrace of friends old and new.
Along the way, there were games, shore excursions and even budding romances. The protective walls that often surround those of us living with HIV came crumbling down, replaced with new relationships, email addresses and phone numbers. By the time we docked back in Ft. Lauderdale, hugs were long and new confidants had been established.
I don't expect that everyone has the ability to afford the trip, but the message of the event -- reach out for support and friendships where ever you might find them echoes in my mind and heart today.
Thanks for watching, and please be well.
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Comment by: Ron
Wed., Dec. 12, 2012 at 1:12 pm EST
Mark, thanks for posting this. Great to see a wonderful, warm time being had by all, especially from here in freezing Wisconsin! Hope I can make next year's cruise. We'll see!
Comment by: POZ4LIFE
Sun., Nov. 25, 2012 at 7:33 am EST
Is there a straight cruise? I also heard that not everyone on the boat has HIV/AIDS and when they found our group was on board, they kinda got creeped out. I heard that from 2 different people. THAT doesn't sound too supportive.
Comment by: terrence spanke
Thu., Nov. 15, 2012 at 11:23 pm EST
Is there another cruise on the horizon?
Comment by: julie jacobs
Wed., Nov. 14, 2012 at 6:03 am EST
This post is quite touchy. I almost cry as I can always relate. I totally agree with you. Certainly, you can find strength from people you know and get acquainted with during your lifetime journey. While there is life, there is always hope!!! Kudos guys. Great job!
Comment by: Dan
Fri., Nov. 9, 2012 at 12:53 pm EST
Maybe next year...
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