Monday, December 20, 2010

Holding his hand.

By that point we had e-mailed back and forth for a few weeks. I felt I knew this blogger somewhat. He talked of being tired and in chronic pain.

Not wanting to pry too much, I suggested he must be going through something other than being anemic and suffering an old sports injury.

When I read his response my heart dropped and I became teary-eyed.

"I've been HIV+ for 18 years," he wrote, "And I have AIDS."

That wasn't the answer I expected.

He told me most of his friends had died of the virus and that he thinks about dying. He talked about needing Procrit shots and blood transfusions.

That made me think of my uncle, who needed to get a Procrit shot every week along with the occasional blood transfusion while he battled colon cancer and chronic leukemia.

But I was there holding my uncle's hand for EVERY shot when it would sting and burn into his skin, squeezing his fingers as the tears ran down his face.

And I wondered if this blogger had anyone there to hold his hand during the various shots or had someone to accompany him to the numerous doctor's visits.

So to show my support I wanted to send him something. A piece of Mail Art as my way of holding his hand.

This is what I'm mailing out to him:

"Blood Orchid"
Markers and ink on standard mailing envelope - 5" x 7" (NFS)

It's a close-up illustration of an orchid drenched in blood. It seemed appropriate and beautiful and tragic.

The backside!

On the back of the envelope I wrote down words of significance which circle around a silver star:

Love. Compassion. Special. Hope. Survivor. Struggle. Tears. Life. Pain. Fear. Support. Future. Try. Strength. Live. Endure. Courage. Cry. Hard. Believe. Emotional. Trust. Dream. Free.

It must be a hard life for him. Hopefully this will remind him that he's not alone.....



bK said...

I like the blood imagery on the card, Dean. I kind of teared up a bit reading that. G-d knows I regularly pray for a cure to HIV/AIDS.

k said...

That is so beautiful (the sentiment and the art)

Liz said...

Wow, that's incredible. It's always a slug in the gut when we realize that people deal with issues outside of our normal perspective.

Direwolf said...

Wow !!! That's so nice of you to do that for him.... :)
That's such a wonderful painting...
I'm sure that this painting & the wonderful words that you have written on the the best gift that anyone could have given that show that someone cared about him.... :)
I think that you are a real nice person...I'm glad to have come across your blog... :)

Nadya Avila Chant said...

What a beautiful gift to send! I'm sure he will love it. My prayers to your blogger friend. I lost someone once to HIV/AIDS and every day I wish I'd been there to hold his hand.

Randuwa said...

I am proud to be your friend.

JuJu said...

Your compassion is a wonderful gift. Thank you for sharing this story. It started my morning on the right note.
If your friend is reading this, I am holding your hand as well.

FreeFlying said...

Wow! It's crazy how we bloggers end up having real friendships with people we've never even met. I'm glad you're there for him.

n.lea. said...

the art work is absolutely stunning and the sentiments and encouragement are inspiring.
Dean you are such a beautiful soul and I am very glad I have come across your blog to follow.
I am inspired by you

Melancholy State said...

I'm sorry for your friend's struggle. I hope there is someone to hold his hand, even if it's no one else besides a nurse that isn't jaded and abrupt. Not even sure why grouchy people go into medicine....if you go into it, you should be an ultra caregiver, and be able to respond to each person's unique needs as they arise.

Not sure, maybe only I and my students were able to do that, but that's what I taught them at any rate.

Anonymous said...

your soul shines bright today my frienda:)

BB said...

What a wonderful and thoughtful idea. Someday I hope someone does the same for me if I am ever alone like this. Very nice post.

Unknown said...

Wow.. beautfiful art and thoughtful gift. Very impressive!

Happy holidays!

RoseRed said...

What a lovely gesture. It's so easy for each of us to isolate. And so very important to be reminded that we are all connected and never alone.

K.C. said...

You have such a compassionate heart, I admire the love you have for others.

You truly are a beautiful person.

WOL said...

Ever thought about changing professions and becoming a caregiver? I think you'd be good at it. Especially the way you use your art so compassionately to encourage and express caring.

Just Plain Ordinary said...

you have an amazing, sweet soul.

TMCPhoto said...

What an amazing, fantastic, perfect thing to do. I recently found your blog and am blown away by you and your blog.

Anonymous said...

Once again your own personal beauty is shadowed only by your single acts of true compassion and love for others. Your presence certainly makes the world a brighter place to live!


Stephanie said...

You're an amazing person. And your art is fantastic. I'm jealous of your skill and your compassion. You give people something to strive for. =]

Jodie | Velour said...

You are so thoughtful Dean, and I can only imagine that your kindness and caring help lift his heavy load, and his shoulders, and his heart.

I love the backside. Perfect words. ...just beautiful. (This could not come from someone ugly.)

LightChaser said...

You're so thoughtful and compassionate-- I'd like to give you a hug for reaching out to him.

Unknown said...

That's beautiful.
Good to know there are some caring souls out there.

neora chana said...

What a wonderful thing for you to do. Sometimes it's just something exactly like this that will help someone through a particularly tough moment.

~BB~ said...

wow - that's beautiful. The receivers of your "mail art" are very lucky.

Anonymous said...

I have been anonymously reading your blog for about a year now. Today's entry was especially touching. Regardless of how critically you view yourself, how hopeless, and helpless you feel at times, I want YOU to know that in this past year I have come a little closer in knowing an extremely kind, sensitive, thoughtful, talented, and handsome man, who gives from the pure instinct of his heart.

I know it. And you need to hear it. Be strong & carry on. <3

Dean Grey said...


Maybe one day there'll be a cure, Brody. One day.....


The Mother Experiment!

I'm glad you think so!



Exactly. It's almost hard to fathom what his life is like.


Afrin ♪♫!

I appreciate the nice words from you!



I'm sorry to hear about your loss. I'm certain this blogger is grateful for your prayers!






Thank YOU for taking the time to read this post!



I know, right? Strange how we become closer to people we never met versus actual face-to-face ones!



Thanks for that!


C. Alvarez!

"Ultra caregiver".

I like that term!


David Allen Waters!

This made me smile!


Bouncin' Barb!

I think we all hope that someone will be there for us when times are tough.



Happy Holidays to you as well!



My thoughts exactly!



That's sweet of you to say.



You are NOT the first person to suggest I enter the medical field. I can't tell you how many nurses said I should become a nurse after they saw how I tended to my uncle when he was at the hospital.

It's always on the back of my mind but I'm not sure if it's meant to be since that field isn't art-related.


Just Plain Ordinary!




That's quite a compliment!



I'm humbled by your comment.



I appreciate that!


Jodie | Velour!

I hope it helps him.



Thank you, Dave!



That's very kind of you!



That's what I was aiming for!



They're lucky....only if the Mail Art doesn't get lost in the mail!



Your comment touched me and is just what I needed to hear!


Everyone's supportive words mean a lot! I can feel the love here!


Katherine said...

So glad to have come across your blog buddy - really love your artwork and perspective on life - makes me think and I appreciate it.

Nick said...

I just love the orchid and the idea that stands behind it :)

Liz said...

That art is beautiful ! :)

And it's beautiful that you want to show your support like this. Life is hard, but there is always hope. Help him see that :D

Stacia said...

You're amazing...(((hugs)))

Aleksandra Sandstrom said...

That is so so beautiful, Dean! I am inspired to create some mail art of my own.... hmm...

AutumnBoy said...

Dean, your an amazing guy


Andytgeezer said...

This is a great piece Dean. Mailart with a cause. Always a good idea

david said...

wow dean..
i hope your blogger friend knows how much you truly care about him and what a deep, compassionate and merciful man you really are... the painting is lovely and the text on the back is inspirational...
"everyone stands alone in the heart of the world..."
not today... not as long as you are holding his hand...

~ cheers...

Tammy's Studio said...

God Bless you Dean for always thinking of others. You are truly unique spirit and I'm honored to know you.

Luciene said...

I'm one of these new followers you said in "I'm honored and I'm grateful". I'm a brazilian girl married to a portuguese guy, and my English is painful! But what I know is that I'm delightfully surprised every post you spray in the air on web.
I just wish you a Merry Christmas.

Const-T said...

Came across your blog through a friend of mine. I'm in awe! That gesture was very beautiful and inspirational.

Dean Grey said...





That means a lot!



I'll try to help him see that!



(((HUGS))) back at ya!



Go for it! Mail Art is sooooo addictive!






"Mail Art with a cause."

I like that notion!



I appreciate that, sir!



That's awfully nice of you to say!



Thank you for the YouTube clip. How cute!



I'm glad you found me!


Thanks to all of you for adding your thoughts on this piece!


Randy said...

I love the way you reached out to touch this persons heart. We need more people like you in the world.

Kelley Carey MacDonald said...

You are the most compassionate soul! I bet he 'feels' you there next time. *hope*

Verena said...

Wow I´m speechless! How nice of you to think of your blogger friend. The Orchid is so beautiful! And I´m sure he will love it!!!

Ken Riches said...

That is what this time of year is all about. Thank You.

Tierney said...

When I began reading this blog post I had no idea where it was going.By the time I had finished reading it I was on the verge of tears.I think it's a wonderful sentiment and I bet it means the world to that blogger that you did this for. You are such a kind hearted person and I hope that this blogger relaizes how much you care. Your illustration of the Blood Orchid is teriffic! Something about it is just so captivating and the backside of it was a great touch; I'm so glad that I stumbled upon your blog and I can only hope that others learn from you and share that kindness with others whom need it most!

^ said...

I know I'm a little late on this, but I think what you have done here is more important and more touching than what you know.

I lost someone I loved very dearly to aids and the cancer that comes with it. I miss him terribly and when I remember what he went through, out of all of it the worst I think was the way people treat someone when they hear the words aids. There is still so much bigotry and lack of knowledge surrounding the name of this disease.

People, sometimes, even medical professionals would act as though they thought just being in the same room with him would infect them. It was heartbreaking to see how he was treated.

Taking the time to treat this person like a person and with so much compassion is beyond a kindness.

Kudo's to you for taking the extra step for this person in need.

stanw said...

Such a great way to be an encouragement, Dean, and support in his time of need. He will love the Mail Art piece you have sent him, it is so thoughtfully created. Also good that he shared what he is going through with you, unfortunately I had a friend who died of AIDS but he never shared his struggle and I didn't get to be there for him. Your card will also remind him that he is not alone.

Dean Grey said...





I hope so!





Bucko (a.k.a., Ken)!

You are quite welcome!



I'm honored that this post touched you such a way!



I'm sorry to hear of your loss.



Yes, hopefully it will remind him that he's not alone!


I appreciate everyone's comments!


Zaraya said...

I had someone who died of AIDS. He was born with it and lived with it til 23. It's hard when someone you want to help someone but that help is limited. I am praying for blogger friend.

Aaron said...

There are great reasons why we love you so much.

Anonymous said...

I love it! You seem so sweet :) Keep it up!

A New Blogger

Dean Grey said...


I know he'll appreciate the prayers from you!






I will keep it up!


Thanks to the three of you!


Unknown said...

Um - I got a lump in my throat on this post. Your thoughtfulness is amazing.

I spent a long time not recognizing I am gay and then another 13 years not admitting I am gay. At the end of counseling my counselor asked me if I had ever considered that I might be gay.

I asked her why she asked that question. She replied, "You are uncharacteristically sensitive and considerate for a straight man."

Dean Grey said...


She replied, "You are uncharacteristically sensitive and considerate for a straight man."