Thursday, December 01, 2005


Watch the video
Before 1993/1994, AIDS meant certain death. Today, for many it has become a manageable (but still frequently debilitating and sometimes fatal) disease
When one is surrounded by countless deaths, new methods of communal mourning are created.
During Gay Pride Week every year in NYC, the community would gather to mourn those they had lost.  Nearly everyone had lost several friends so these services were huge.
Methods of inclusion included the ritual shouting out of names of lost loved ones.  Another ritual consisted of taking a lavendar balloon, writing your loved one's name on it and then letting it fly skyward mixing with others as you called out the names.
In 1991, the annual mourning service moved indoors to St. Veronica's Church.  This vlog shows these rituals of mourning: the calling of names and the releasing of balloons.
It was always interesting to hold "your balloon".  When you let it go, your eye would desparately try to keep track of it but very shortly it would be lost and swallowed up by all the other balloons.  It was a beautiful way or ritually letting go. 
1991 was the last year balloons were released.  Their were hundreds of them released at different services.  Ecologists pointed out that the balloons were blown out to sea and became death traps for sea turtles.  So, that ritual was abandoned.
After 1994, medications greatly decreased the numbers of the "newly deceased" and the annual memorial services grew smaller and smaller.
For all the pain, for all the loss, there was a beauty in these rituals of mourning.  Thankfully, they are no longer necessary.
Lynda David sings a beautiful song, "Time To Say Goodbye", that is nothing short of being a secular hymn about losing someone you love.  It really makes up nearly half this vlog. 
Spending this morning, December 1,2005, AIDS AWARENESS DAY editing these two vlogs where two of my friends ashes sat on the altar and were later carried to the river, and in which I release a balloon with "David Combs" on it was emotionally wrenching.  David Combs was my better half for eighteen years before his death in 1990.
Editing this material from 1991 was a return to a personal holocaust.  Thank God, it is over in the USA. 
But I think of that sculpture entitled "Who Will Care for The Child?" from my vlog about Zimbabwe sculpture. It was done by a sculpture who himself would alter die of AIDS.  It depicts two parents looking skyward as if pleading to God for someone to help cazre for their child as the child clings to their legs as if to try preventing them from leaving.
AIDS and horrible pain still haunt this Earth.  And to think, President Bush won't fund anti-AIDS programs that promote the use of condoms.  He will certainly burn in Hell if such a place really exists. 


Blogger Bev Sykes said...

What a beautiful post, Randy. Beautiful and terrible all at the same time. We've lost too many wonderful people to both this disease and uncaring people in power who do only the minimum. {{hugs}}

10:57 AM  
Blogger Randolfe Wicker said...


This was a very personal vlog for me. But it gave me a feeling that I had accomplished something on World AIDS Day.

Linda David was so thrilled to know she was singing on the Internet.

4:41 PM  

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