An Interview With an Orphan

I did this interview to let kids all over California know that some kids may not be lucky but still are very special.. I got my idea when I talked to a kid whose parents died of AIDS. He agreed to the interview if I could disguise him as "Tom" for privacy. "Tom" doesn't mind me telling his story, but he is very shy about people knowing what happened to his parents. Tom is 12 years old and in seventh grade.

I started by asking him about some of the things he did with his parents when they were alive.

Q: "What kind of sports did you play with your dad?"

A: "Me and my dad played baseball and football, we fished, and did a lot of building type things."

Q: "What kinds of things did you do wit your mom?"

A: "The kind of things I did with my mom were shopping, movies, art projects, Family Fun Center, and other different types of fun things that I won't ever forget."

Q: "Since you were born when your parents had AIDS, are you infected?"

A: "No, I'm not. I was very lucky in that way, but for some kids it works the other way."

Q: "When your parents told you that they had AIDS , how old were you? What did it feel like?"

A: "Well I was six years old when I was told, and I was very scared. I didn't know if they were going to die the next day or in ten years. When I found out, I didn't know much about the disease, but now I probably know more than anybody."

Q: "Most kids think you would open up about the situation, but were you like that?"

A: "No, I was not like that. I was very shy about letting people know why my parents were resting allot, or why sometimes they were not up to doing normal stuff. I didn't tell any of my friends because I didn't know how they would take it or if they would believe that I wasn't infected."

Q: "Was it hard for you to see your parents resting when your fiends' parents weren't out jogging or to the beach?"

A: "At sometimes yes but I always knew they needed the rest. Plus I knew they always tried their best to put me first."

Q: " Which one of your parents was dying first? What was the funeral like?"

A: "My dad was the first to die. This was really hard on my mom because she had been really stressed out that whole month. I don't remember much of the funeral, but I remember not wanting to go. I did anyway. Then after the funeral we went to my grandma's house and stayed there for a couple weeks to let things settle."

Q: "Did you ever regret going to the funeral?"

A: "No, not at all."

Q: "What was it like when your mother died?"

A: "When my mom died, I thought my life was over. I didn't know if I could live without her."

Q: "How is life now that you are living with a nice family and have made a lot of new friends?"

A: "It is really good, & I have lots of fun with all my friends. I don't think about my parents as much as I used to, but I still do and always will."

All Kids affected or infected with HIV/AIDS are invited to contribute their writings for publication in this column. Names can be changed to protect the confidentiality of the writer. The deadline for the next issue is May 25, '96.