Question

Hello,

I just read of Dr. Bob's passing and I think I am going to freak out. I didn't even know he was sick and I thought his virus was undetectable. He was one of the reasons I could keep going. He acted like he was going to still be here for the cure and that it was possible. Now I am back to feeling like there is no hope and this is a death sentence. I am so sorry for his family. This seems like some sort of a sick joke. Please help - I cannot get my mind around this. It doesn't even seem possible.

Answer

Thanks for writing. All of us were astonished and saddened by Dr. Bob's death. He was a powerful force for healing who helped thousands both with his knowledge and as a role model. We are never prepared for such a loss. Having lived with the virus for years, I am also susceptible to the shock and deep, personal fears that come with such news. I feel tremendously sorry for his family even as I try to regain my own emotional balance.

Here's how I try and handle it. I choose not to focus on death a daily basis but, in fact, quite the opposite. I really try and live each day as fully as I can. On good days I can put thoughts of death and dying off into a corner in my mind, mindful that they are there but not letting them dominate. Events such as Dr. Bob's passing bring them right back onto center stage and I am reminded once again of my own mortality. I then have to once again find meaning in my life and restore my hope that, while there are no guarantees, every day brings new discoveries that bring us closer to an eradication of HIV.

I feel Dr. Bob would want each of us to experience the richness of life on a daily basis, find hope in the many blessings in our lives, and continue caring about each other to the greatest extent possible.

-David