Dying of AIDS


This is Christine. Lying on a tattered mattress she holds her son’s small hand counting the days before AIDS takes her life completely. Her sons name is Chipo; he is six. He will soon be alone.

I started my morning on this beautiful Saturday enjoying the silence of my home (which definitely means the kids are up to something sneaky upstairs). Bright sunshine, cool air, hot coffee. I figured this would be a wonderful time to get back to my Rustic Bluebird and let her sing the praises of another extraordinary woman. As I sorted through my ideas and papers I was hit upside the head with this photo.
This photo hurts.

The picture was taken by Kristen Ashburn, a gifted photographer. It is a part of an exhibit called Bloodline, a photo-journal of the AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa. My heart is falling over itself not knowing how to split the hurt for both Chipo and Christine. I continued to look through the exhibition and I was slammed with more photographs that told a story of pain and suffering.

The other is a photo of a family – both parents are HIV positive and the young boy, Samuel, on the right died of AIDS the day after this photo was taken.

These photos need no commentary from me. The pictures speak for themselves. I can only wonder if Christine is still alive? If so, for how much longer? How about little Chipo – who cares for him now? Does she know that an intimate moment with her son while dying has made it around the world?

Does it matter?

It matters because it is her story. It’s the story of AIDS, ending lives too soon, leaving families and hearts broken. Today’s blog is dedicated to Christine and all the mothers who have left this world too soon because of AIDS. It is for the women who have had to say hard goodbyes to their babies. For the Mama’s who have had to care for their dying children; bathing them, holding them, loving them, and then watching them slip away.

If nothing else, we can pray for these woman called to suffer extraordinary circumstances. May God grant them peace.

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