When I told my friend about the young woman dying of AIDS who had been born with the disease (see previous entry), I thought her gasp was a similar reaction to mine -- shock that the disease has been around long enough for "babies with AIDS" to now be adults and regret for the life the girl had lived/endured.
Instead, she began to tear up and finally said, "We dreamed of this day. Actually, we thought we were dreaming too big to dream of this day."
"We" in this case were she and her friends who endured the early days of the relatively unknown plague that was taking folks each week in the 1980s. "We" were the ones who were agreeing to abide by their friend's wishes and either not be there to tend to the diapers or definitely be there to see them waste away. "We" were the tired but relentless heroes who found yet another way to bury someone and celebrate their life when the world wanted only to ignore they had come and gone.
She's not as active anymore in the fight. But she shouldn't have to be. She's the retired general who can agree to the televised interview or go tell the now curious to go screw themselves. She's earned the right to gasp and even to celebrate that what was once considered the impossible dream is now very much a sad reality.
'Course one other person I told shared the bright side to this story (yet again, another perspective). Seems she's got a friend who adopted an HIV positive baby several years ago. That baby is now a teen. That baby has just been told that so little of the virus remains in her system that she too will one day have babies of her own.
God bless us everyone.