Thursday, July 1, 2010

Saying Goodbye

We are rushing around in our final days here in Cape Town before we come to the States for a visit, and saying goodbye to many people as we will not see them for eight weeks. Today, however, I will say goodbye to a friend for the last time. When we came to work with the Living Hope organization in 2008, my favorite part of the ministry I was involved in was helping to lead a group of people living with HIV. Now that we live here, I still help to lead this group and love these people deeply. I will be honest in saying that it has been rough at times living life with these people many of them struggle with drug and alcohol abuse, stop taking their necessary ARV meds at times, and just have a difficulty to accept their present lot in life with joy and courage, It is difficult to have HIV in the community of Ocean View as they are ostracized and looked down upon for their disease. One member of the group, Angelique, has particularly struggled lately with alcohol abuse, even though she has two kids she must take care of a raise. She has been in and out of the hospital this year, and I received a call yesterday saying she is in the hospital again, and this time it looks like she might not make it too long. We went this morning to see her, but she was sleeping and the nurses wanted us to come back during visiting hours, so this afternoon we will return to see her. My friends and fellow Living Hope support group leaders, Bernadette and Naomi visited her yesterday, and she really didn't recognize them as she also has water on her brain at this point. But as they were talking to her she started crying and Naomi asked Angelique to squeeze her hand if she knew it was them, and she did. I am eager to pray with her and love on her for what will most likely be the last time I see her.

I absolutely love Angelique, and not just because she is precious to God and in my HIV group, but because she has a special spark in her. During our time in 2008 Casey and I both loved hanging with her as she is hilarious, loves to sing and dance, and has a laugh that is infectious. She is one of those people that others love to be around, and I bet when she was younger and not infected by HIV, she was the life of the party. I think as time has gone on, she is looked down upon and she has definitely lost some of that spark. Her life is hard now, and her eyes are full of pain.

I pray for Angelique, that she can find peace with God during her final moments on this earth. I pray for her two kids, who also have HIV and their new life ahead without their mother. I pray for Angelique's mother, who will now be caretaker of these two kids and will walk a very difficult road ahead.

It is the first of what I feared, that eventually these friends that are living with HIV, might succumb to one of the many viruses and infections that plague them so frequently. I pray that I will be able to say goodbye in a way that brings glory to our great God, who holds and loves His precious Angelique more than I could ever know.

Lots of love,

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