Love, Constancy and Patience
Is a gift from God,
This I have always believed!
To be loved by others,
is also a gift from God.
This, also I believe.
But that this latter,
The love of God,
Subject to the moods,
Of the fallible humans that we are,
Be it their wandering gaze,
Or their many and varied insecurities.
UNERRING LOVE, CONSTANCY,
And INDEFATIGABLE PATIENCE, Conquering all, Leading to Peace,
TO TRANQUILITY, TO SECURITY.
If we can love,
With these three qualities,
As we love God,
As he loves us,
All we will experience,
Are the sunny uplands,
Of happy relationships,
Of course it takes PATIENCE
but the rewards are incalculable
This is a poem written by a former patient and good friend of Mildmay Mission Hospital, Kitt, who has now sadly passed away. It is reproduced here by kind permission of his partner, Brooke.
Brooke has also written us the following letter about how he met Kitt. The letter goes on to remind us of the challenges facing those living with HIV/AIDS, and how it is still important for us all to confront this dreadful disease, and for Mildmay to continue to play it's part.
"Thank you for contacting me to ask that Kitt's poem be included on your website for World AIDS day. I am very happy for you to do this and I believe K is too. He has been with me in Spirit always.
K became my partner after we met at the Kobler clinic, which we both attended. We had many shared interests and similarities, not least that we had both received an AIDS diagnosis in the mid-to-late 90’s.
I had looked after two previous partners who had both died prior to meeting K and so I had many years’ experience as a carer before receiving my own diagnosis. I have been witness to the very worst aspects of this illness and have lost more friends than I care to count.
I applaud, celebrate and am eternally grateful to the countless lab technicians, nurses, doctors, carers, all the staff at Mildmay and the social services employees who have worked tirelessly since the start of the AIDS pandemic. We often hear now that it is a disease that can be managed successfully with antiretroviral medications and for those more recently infected that they can expect to live a largely ‘normal’ life. I hope and pray that this is so.
However, I do feel that some mention should be made of those of us termed ‘long-term survivors’. There are many who, like K, had HIV that became resistant to multiple anti-retroviral combinations and consequently have developed several very challenging conditions associated with long term infection.
Among these are severe neuropathy which effects feet, legs, and hands, causing constant pain - treated with the strongest pain killers. Encephalopathy, early onset dementia and conditions associated with the loss of bone mineral density. K was hospitalised many times between 2000 and 2016 when he eventually died from an undiagnosable stomach condition and pulmonary embolism. K was a wheelchair user and needed help with all aspects of daily living - I hope that I shall never again have to witness the horrifying suffering that K and my other partners and friends so stoically endured.
Over the years The Mildmay Mission Hospital became incredibly important to us both - K had spent time there in recuperation after hospital admissions and had become one of the Mildmay Family. He took great solace in the support and friendship of Sister Bernie and the team and found his faith in God renewed.
Although we live in enlightened times this condition still has stigma attached, especially when one is seen to be physically or mentally challenged because of it. Despite this, those of us living with HIV/AIDS, whether long term survivors or more recently diagnosed are the torch bearers for those of our number no longer with us. We should honour them, celebrate them, and live our lives in the best way that we can. Personally, I give thanks every day that it has been my privilege to know so many beautiful souls, that I have been afforded extra life - for me it puts everything in perspective, the little things no longer matter. Life itself is a wonderful present, to be opened immediately."
Kitt and Brooke
Please donate to Mildmay for World AIDS Day 2020
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