Brad talked to me about what he wanted as his legacy — what he wanted people to remember after he died. He wanted to make sure his life and suffering were not wasted. He had something he had learned that he told me to communicate to others to help them, so I am passing his story and words on to you right now as he asked.
Brad told me to share this Scripture with anyone thinking of playing around “just a little” with sexual sin:
Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned? Or can one walk on hot coals and his feet not be scorched? — Proverbs 6:27-28
Clearly, my gay brother had been burned and burned to the extreme.
What started as “just a little” seemingly harmless sexual experiments ended as an out-of-control obsession that was literally killing my brother.
When we were kids, Brad and I just so happened to talk about what would happen if either of us were sick one day and could not speak. We agreed that if that ever happened, we would communicate by a hand signal — grabbing tighter meant yes, and letting go meant no.
The night before he died, Brad’s breathing grew labored, and he fought for each breath. I knew he was going to die and that I could no longer be beside him after death as he went through … whatever happens. I was powerless, but God could go with him — even through death!
I asked my brother if he wanted me to pray, but he could not speak. So, he grabbed my hand, then my wrist, then up the arm to my elbow.
I remembered our childhood conversation; I understood perfectly. He was saying yes, YES, YES!!
I prayed that God would be with my brother and help him through this. Brad grabbed my arm again in agreement. I cried. I knew God would go with him in death, helping him where I couldn’t in that moment.
The following day, I was helping a nurse turn over my brother, and he moaned in pain and took his last breath. His heart stopped.
It was over….
A few days after Brad’s funeral, my parents got a call from his so-called high school girlfriend. She said she was recently divorced and wanted to know how Brad was doing. They told her he had just died. She burst into tears and hung up. She had NO idea that he was gay or sick from an HIV infection.
We never heard from her again.
Have you ever had to say goodbye to someone who lost their fight with HIV/AIDS? Have you ever said goodbye to a brother or other close male friend in death? How did you move on?
* Photo courtesy morgacito, Creative Commons.