Monday, June 09, 2008

Literary closure

Many of you know that I'd been doing AIDS work for a veeeeeery long time. It has affected my life, spurred me to write, forced me to grow. I started doing AIDS work at the Chris Brownlee Hospice for People With AIDS, located in Elysian Park. It was back in the early 1990's. Many passed away. One death, in particular, hit me particularly hard and I left abruptly. The hospice closed down in 1996 when life-saving medication came onto the scene.

Today, I went to the rededication of the new Chris Brownlee building. It was in the same place, but the use of the building is different. It's now used for AIDS education purposes.

I thought I'd break down when I walked through the familiar walls, remembering all those who died there. I cried a little, then felt a renewal hope. This building found a new purpose, a new reason for being. Oddly, I felt a closure happening. Things came round.

I wasn't writing then. I didn't know I'd become a writer. Strange: if it weren't for the hospice, I don't think I'd be writing. Alot of people died unceremoniously. Their lives uncelebrated. I think about them sometimes when I write.


Peter Varvel said...

I think this is a crucial component of why so many of us are part of your reading audience.
Phoenix rising.

Cheryl said...

I think writing is almost always a tribute to people who've passed through our lives, even though it's more indirect for some writers. I imagine lots of souls smiling down, glad to be celebrated by your writing.

Dann said...

I can partially relate to your experiences and feelings at the Hospice, Noel. At that time I was putting in hours toward a Masters and licensure by administering transitional therapy. It was not easy; most challenging, and enabled me to confront my own issues of death and dying. One of my clients who I had seen for over a year ended up at the Hospice and I would visit him there. At one point, he bestowed on me a multi-colored quilt that he and his partner [who died previously of AIDS] had used. I tear up now just thinking about it. Yes, I still have the quilt!

E Becraft said...

I became aware of the Chris Brownlee Hospice when my son Stephen Elliott died in Hollywood. His brother died 25 days later in Langley Park, MD. I dedicated two trees to them at the hospice and would be very happy to know their plaques are still there. Stephen Louis Elliott died December 6, 1994, his brother George Michael Elliott died December 31, 1994. Any info would be greatly appreciated.

thelastnoel said...

Hi E Becraft. I'm sorry to hear of your sons. I haven't been to Chris Brownlee since that day, but I can pass it on to people who may know. Will that do?