After I titled this posting, I realized that this particular week isn’t, by any means, the only week of the entire year that begins to end on a Friday! Every week has that same coincidence! This week does mark the final Friday for this month of July, 2019. I suppose that aspect would have made a more significant statement but it would also provide a much lengthier title for what is intended to be a brief post here.
Summers are a very happy time of the year for me. One of the major reasons for this emotion is the fact that living in the Northern Hemisphere, this is the annual season where I don’t necessarily have to plan ahead as to being a bare practitioner (naturist/nudist). Regardless of being indoors or outside, the weather is generally very cooperative to nudity in either location. The best of both worlds!
Despite all the happiness that summer always brings to me, during the month of July, a sense of sadness enters into my mood as the end of the month arrives. This attitude change reflects some of the more depressing aspects of life – namely, death. It was during the month of July that both of my grandfathers died, although two years apart. I was, of course, younger when these deaths happened but they were both emotionally distressing for me as they were the first major family deaths that I had ever experienced.
Surviving those traumatic events didn’t make any of the subsequent deaths of family and friends any easier to accept or cope. I honestly believe that each and every dying is as unique as the person. The effects are different for each and every one, just as their lives were.
July, eight years ago, was the very last class that I taught in HIV/AIDS prevention education for the American Red Cross. Two years earlier, the Red Cross had decided to remove itself from HIV/AIDS prevention education due to the discontinuance of federal budget supplements from the Red Cross and the appropriation of those funds to community-based organizations. Instead of seeking alternate sources for funding, the organization just arbitrarily stopped the programs.
Fortunately, my local chapter of the Red Cross decided to extend sponsoring the program as long as supplies were available. In 2010, we realized that the supplies were almost exhausted and the result was only a solitary class being taught in 2011, from July 25 – 29. I was a volunteer for the Red Cross and had taught classes for thousands of individuals. I am very fortunate that my local chapter had the commitment, dedication and responsibility to continue providing service in this area even if the national organization had discontinued interest and support.
Even though I miss teaching the HIV prevention curriculums for the Red Cross, I have a reason to applaud the decision. I replaced my volunteer status for that organization with a new local AIDS service provider and have thoroughly enjoyed my time there. The people that I work with and serve are indeed amazing and inspirational.
One additional note of sadness to impart here. Ten years ago, on July 23, 2009, one of my favorite fiction authors died unexpectedly. E. Lynn Harris, a favorite of both myself and my friend, Jay, lost his life at the age of 54. His passing was a shock for both Jay and myself and for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer (GLBTQ) community. His literary publications not only helped increase our personal pride but also worked to bridge the divide between the GLBTQ community and mainstream society.
E. Lynn Harris