Category Archives: HIV and the Law

My relationship with my Mommy…

Not sure if you can tell from my last post, which was copied verbatim from a letter that my mother sent me, but we had a volatile relationship. “I love you very much – and  I am truly sorry that I have been such a disappointment and failure as a mother.” Reading those words is extremely painful for me. I never forgave my mother for abandoning me as a baby. That letter was dated June 9, 1995. My Mommy died on July  9, 1995. She died thinking that she was a disappointment and failure as a mother to me. When I first read that letter back in 1995, I did not know that it was the very last thing that I would ever receive from her. Ever. When she referenced her “imminent death”, I didn’t realize that she would be dead a month later. You know how people say, “I’m dying. The end is near. I’ll be gone soon.” and we normally think that they’re just talking? How could they possibly know that their eventual demise is so near? Well, she knew. I don’t know how she knew, but she knew. I’m almost certain that she did NOT take her life. If there is anything that I have taken from my mother, I know that it is her strength. She would never take her own life. She was in prison for YEARS, why wouldn’t she have done it sooner?

I know she was probably depressed. She had lost her last appeal in 1994. That was it. A jury of her “peers” found her guilty and she was sentenced to die in jail. I don’t mean that she received the death penalty. No, she received a 15 year sentence, which, if you have HIV and no proper medical care, is a death sentence. My Mommy died in prison from complications attributed to her HIV status. I’m not sure if she had full-blown aids at the time of her death. What I do know is that my grandmother thinks that my Mommy was murdered. I think my grandmother may be in denial. She wanted an independent autopsy performed.

At any rate, I don’t want to get into specifics of her case on this post other than to say I believe her HIV status was the reason she received such a harsh sentence for an offense that normally carries a 6 month sentence and $1,000 fine. Please stay tuned, I will write about the specifics of her case in a later post.

In the meanwhile, please check out HIV Law and Policy. It really is unfair how persons that are HIV positive are treated in the justice system.

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