HIV

‘The doctor pulled her aside. ‘If you don’t take her in, she will go to a group home, and she will die.’ Diagnosed with AIDS, my organs were shutting down. I was 2 years past my death date.’: HIV warrior adopted by sister’s boss after life-long abuse

“CPS told my parents, ‘You cannot drop your kid off at a group home and not come back. If you don’t get her, you will be charged with abuse and neglect.’ My parents didn’t budge. At 14, I was given two weeks to find a new place to live. All I wanted was to be wanted. ‘I believe in you, I love you, you are worth it.’ My sister’s boss took me in.”

‘Kids, will you follow me up the stairs?’ We walked into his bedroom. I knew something was wrong. ‘Where is Mommy? What happened?’: HIV warrior details journey with grief, trauma

“‘Lexi has AIDS’ was written in graffiti outside my science class. Soon, the whole school knew. I was spit on, constantly told, ‘I hope you die.’ I was tired of fighting. ‘I don’t care if I die anymore.’ Immediately, my stepmother began planning my death party. ‘Enough is enough.’ A family friend took me to the school counselor to repost the abuse at home.”

‘My teacher told the class, ‘You’ll never meet anyone with AIDS.’ I sat silently screaming, ‘I HAVE IT. YOU KNOW ME!’: HIV ‘stigma warrior’ details journey with virus

“I was getting ready for senior prom when I started throwing up. I slipped out of my Bebe cocktail dress and into sweats. My vision faded. The doctors warned, ‘You’ve gone blind. We have no idea if your vision will come back.’ Soon, I was told I’d be moved to hospice. ‘You’re going to die.'”

‘I’m not feeling well.’ I called my husband. I remember crying, thinking the only thing I wanted was my mom.’: Widow laments loss of husband during thyroid cancer journey, ‘he always knew how to put my mind at ease’

“I was preoccupied with thoughts of whether this was ‘normal.’ Fast forward 14 years and I can tell you, I feel differently. In 48 hours, my parents will be here to take care of my children and I because my husband is not. The possibility of cancer this time of year is all too familiar. And as I sit here, alone, avoiding all the dishes I’ve let pile up and the 7 loads of laundry, all I can think is that I want my husband.”

‘We need to make her soup so she feels better!’ I had to explain to my 5-year-old his sister was going to heaven.’: Mom loses daughter to Neuroblastoma, ‘we will never forget our brave, beautiful warrior’

“I watched her breathe so slowly. ‘It’s okay to go now. You won’t be in pain anymore.’ At 9:14 p.m. she took her last breath. Her brothers cuddled her one last time and said their final goodbyes. There’s something about seeing your 5-year-old carrying a tiny little casket that will break your heart and make you so proud all at the same time. He was always holding his little sister, even in death.”

‘I loved my older cousin. At 8, I learned the only way to be friends with him was to have sex with him.’: Daughter and mother in addiction recovery together after years of childhood trauma, ‘If that isn’t wonderful, I don’t know what is’

“I remember the bright red carpet in his closet. This ongoing ‘event’ became our secret, I held onto this secret for close to 15 years. I never got over what happened to me, I stuffed it so far down. This has been the hardest thing I have ever done in my entire life. I finally surrendered. I had enough. I needed to give myself a chance to live.”

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