During the past year, since making a commitment to move to Atlanta and provide care for Joe, I managed to .gain respite by leaving briefly when Joe was having periods of feeling well. It seemed those periods were evaporating. His moments of well being hardly carried through the day. I accepted that I would now stay until the end. There was also very little other help available. Or whatever reason Joe was cutting himself off from friends and family alike. I could obtain very little insight into Joe’s mind, to garner why he wanted to cut people off. He formally had a network of friends who like himself were gay and infected with this dread disease.
Joe stated that he kept most of these folks away ,since he did not like their negative attitudes surrounding death. Perhaps these folks were working on becoming accepting of there demise, and Joe took that as an affront to his own denial concerning his own end. I am only surmising this, since Joe did not let on to his feelings concerning his end. He was able to joke about these being his final days. But he more adamantly professed the belief that a cure would be found for his illness. He would get most upset when after a visit to get medical care, he found a new treatment not working. I think that when Joe’s friends succumbed it further reminded him that a cure was not coming. He may have also wanted to block these friends from witnessing his own decline. I am only putting this tale together by extrapolating what I was able to witness. I had little else to go on since Joe would not confide with me his inner feelings. We kept our relationship at the surface and focused on day to day matters.
Joe not only isolated himself from friends but included family in the outer circle. He especially kept our mother at bay. She wanted to help attend to Joe but he would not permit it. I became obsessed in an effort to get them to reconcile whatever was keeping them separated. I was having no luck and only getting frustrated and exhausted by my efforts. Apparently Joe held his console with our sister, Karen. One evening just before retiring, Joe was engaged in his room with a lengthy phone conversation with her. I went to my room and prepared for bed. Before getting into bed, I dropped to my knees and acknowledged that I realized it was not my job to guide Joe’s reconciliation, gave it up, and surrendered that work to the Almighty. No sooner had I finished than I heard Joe dialing his rotary phone. He called our mother. The next morning she arrived in Atlanta and was soon joined by her sister, my Aunt Jeanne. It was the beginning of December and I was grateful to have extra help. We became focused on getting through the holidays.