I know I haven't updated this in a long time, but I just found the AIDS Memorial Quilt online. My uncles are memorialized somewhere here and I'm trying to find them.
I've was searching my memory trying to remember what their quilt looked like and I couldn't quite recall no matter how much mental digging I did. I never got to see it up close before it was sent away. I only saw pictures and even those were vague in my memory. It hurt not to remember. I pride myself on my memory and when something slips through the crack, especially something this big, it pains me.
I remember a few months ago, my mom was out here, helping take care of my daughter and I asked a question about the uncles I didn't know the answer to. "How'd Tommy die?" It bugged me that I didn't know, that I couldn't recall. Tommy died on the day I was born, seven years before and even though I've never met him, I always felt this bond, this closeness I couldn't describe, and yet this was something I did not know. "He had a bleed in his stomach they couldn't stop." She answered. There might have been more explanation, but I don't quite remember. Then she said something that stopped me in my tracks. "I was there for Tommy's last breath and for JJ's. I'm still upset I missed T's." I don't know why this surprised me so much. Maybe it was that I hadn't known it before, or the bluntness with which it was said, or maybe because I had witnessed my own son take his last breath and I knew just how much of an emotional impact that had, but it was more than I could handle at the time.
It scares me that their histories might be slipping away from me. If I can't recall what the quilt looks like, what else can't I recall. It scares me that there's so much I just don't know about who they were because they were taken away from us far too soon. Maybe by finding their quilts via the memorial, I'll have a little bit more to hold onto.