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My Fabulous Disease

What It Feels Like for a Mom

A Video Blog

By Mark S. King

April 28, 2010

This Mother's Day, my mother Anne King, 83, will be in Michigan spending the holiday with her own mother, who is turning 104 years old. My grandmother still lives alone, cooks her own meals and will give you an earful if you have the time. Please God, bless me with one tiny scrap of the health genes you have granted these amazing women.

The healing balm of a caring mother is a precious resource, and I'm lucky that neither being gay nor having HIV has deterred Mom from loving and encouraging me. In the 1980's especially, when AIDS was more mysterious and feared, several friends of mine lost their family when they gained a virus. Although I've lived far from home since graduating high school, Mom's voice on the phone transports me right back to her. She knows just when the motherly purr of "there, there ..." is required.

In this video episode, I sat Mom down to find out things I've never asked before. What did she really feel when she found out I was positive, back in 1986? Did she believe I would die? Do mothers have a right to know? What advice would she offer other families? We also talk about the actual loss of an immediate family member to AIDS and the repercussions from it we still feel today.

Episode 17: What It Feels Like for a Mom

Motherly love comes in all shapes and forms, so if your mother is gone or isn't understanding, I hope you find familial intimacy somewhere. We all know how important feelings of love and belonging are to our health and well being.

If there isn't a Mother figure in your life that understands HIV, feel free to borrow mine for the holidays. Just e-mail me Mother's Day greetings for Anne King and I'll be sure my Mom receives your message!

In the meantime, my friends, please be well.


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See Also
Personal Stories: Mothers

Reader Comments:

Comment by: D. Bourque (Lafayette LA) Mon., May. 17, 2010 at 11:19 am UTC
Hello Mark I just finished watching your video with your Mother.She Made My Day.I like you am a long time Survivor 26 years.I also have a brother the would swing both ways and I also knew he was Positive.Found out a little over a year ago that he died 6 years before.He had the one thing that I always craved a mother that stood by him.When the could not find me they thought I also died.Backstory my two brothers lived with my Mom.I did not meet her till I was 16 and have not seen her since I was 17.So now my older brother is shealding her from me.Listening to your Mother made me cry but not sad tears they were proud tears to know there are Mothers like yours.
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Comment by: Kirk (Dallas) Tue., May. 11, 2010 at 12:49 pm UTC
I did not tell my mom for almost 4 years. I regret keeping this information because when I told her, she was so supportive. Yes, you and I are blessed to have such wonderful mothers. Thanks for sharing yours with us.
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Comment by: Julie (Oregon) Mon., May. 3, 2010 at 8:10 am UTC
I have tried to be there for my son, but he keeps pushing me away. I wish I knew how to reach him and let him know I only want him well. He keeps saying it is his disease and he will take care of it. I am not so sure.
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Comment by: Henry (NYC) Fri., Apr. 30, 2010 at 3:37 pm UTC
It makes sense that she was a librarian, many people with a desire to help become librarians (I love librarians!).

Your mom is beautiful, wise, loving and smart. My mother is also those things and just turned 86.
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Comment by: Janus (Pretoria) Fri., Apr. 30, 2010 at 2:31 am UTC
Hi Mark

Your mother is an inspiration!

God bless her.

Keep well now!

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Comment by: Em-Jay (Shreveport, LA) Thu., Apr. 29, 2010 at 11:48 pm UTC
What a great interview; what a wise woman, and what a lucky guy you are!
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Comment by: Sue (Kansas City, Mo) Thu., Apr. 29, 2010 at 3:50 pm UTC
You are very lucky!! She's wonderful. I want her for my Mom.
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Comment by: Emily (Detroit) Thu., Apr. 29, 2010 at 2:37 pm UTC
Beautiful woman, beautiful perspective. Not surprising you're her son. Thanks for sharing!
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Comment by: John-Manuel (Norwich, CT) Thu., Apr. 29, 2010 at 2:33 pm UTC
Mark...This is beautiful. Your Mom is an awesome lady and you are fortunate to have each other. Thank you for sharing this with us.
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Comment by: fogcityjohn (San Francisco, CA) Thu., Apr. 29, 2010 at 2:25 am UTC
Mark, this was an absolutely beautiful video blog. As someone who hasn't been able to bring himself to disclose to his parents, it's really got me thinking about whether I've made the right decision keeping this secret to myself. Your mother says she can't imagine losing a child. Mine already has, and that's what keeps me from disclosing. But after listening to your mother, I'm beginning to think I may be underestimating mine. Anyway, enough of my rambling. Thanks for another wonderful blog!
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Comment by: Julian (NY) Thu., Apr. 29, 2010 at 1:29 am UTC
Simply Amazing! Thanks! :'(
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My Fabulous Disease

Mark S. King has been an active AIDS activist, writer and community organization leader since the early 1980s in Los Angeles. He has been an outspoken advocate for prevention education and for issues important to those living with HIV.

Diagnosed in 1985, Mark has held positions with the Los Angeles Shanti Foundation, AID Atlanta and AIDS Survival Project, and is an award-winning writer. He continues his volunteer work as an AIDS educator and speaker for conferences and events.

Speaking engagements: Mark King is available to speak to groups. Contact Mark about speaking at your organization or event!

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A Place Like This by Mark King

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Interviews With Mark:

Mark King Looks Back at the AIDS Epidemic's Darkest Hour in the U.S. (May 14, 2008)

This Month in HIV: Crystal Methamphetamine and HIV (August 2007)

For the rest of Mark's articles, click here.

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The opinions expressed by's bloggers are entirely their own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of itself.