This was originally written on World AIDS Day, December 1, 2005.
All across the world people are raising awareness about the worst health epidemic in world history, HIV/AIDS.
As a chaplain in an AIDS Clinic since 1994, it is easy for me to see this as another day because where I work, every day is a day about HIV/AIDS. I know this is not true for most of the world.
But there are still stories that grab my attention. For instance, today I got word from one of our patient’s family members that his brother died last week. His body is at a local funeral home and the funeral is supposed to be in two days. They had to wait this long because the family can’t come up with the money required by the funeral home. I talked with the funeral home director and she said, “I guess the family will have to postpone the funeral until they can get the money,” in a not-so-compassionate voice.
So today I’ve been on the phone with the family and another funeral home trying to see if they will be able to bury this 40 year old after more than a week. I know the funeral home director at the second funeral home as we have had a lot of funerals through the years. He said, “Malcolm, if they don’t have any more options, we’ll take care of it for whatever they can pay.”
I am thankful and angry. Thankful for my friend Heath, who hasn’t lost compassion in his business. And I am angry and feeling a bit sorry for the funeral business owner who is blind to compassion and can’t see how we are going to have a funeral on Saturday without the money.
We will find a way, believe me.
Another day in a world with AIDS.