divorceI saw his name on the patient appointment board in our physician’s conference room. I asked his doctor how he was doing and mentioned I had performed the wedding ceremony for this patient about 5 or 6 years ago. It was a day of hope and renewal.

And so I walked down the hall, knocked on the door and went in to greet my friend. He has been through a rough time physically with his health in recent months, and it doesn’t seem to be getting much better. His dark eyes looked at me and he blurted out that he and his wife were separating and would soon be getting a divorce. You could see the sadness in his face and his slumping body posture.

We remembered some of the good times he had in his marriage, but mostly he talked about his future. He wondered what would happen next with great uncertainty. His physical health seens to be in a steady march of decline. Emotionally, he is hanging in there but not sure how deep his reservoir is.

I promised to call him next week and offered to meet regularly for a while if he wanted. We agreed to start with the phone call.

His eyes were hungry for support. And yet I could also see that he was starting to figure out how he will survive. So he turns what energy he has to navigate this next transition in his life.

Sometimes I forget that HIV is just one of the transitions our patients experience. They live life like you and me. Some days are hope filled, others feel hopeless.

The Buddhists have it right. Everything is impermanent, nothing stays the same. Today is what matters, savor it fully. Laugh from the belly, breathe deeply, this moment is a gift.