Guest Blogger

My Fabulous Disease: What It Feels Like For A Mom

Filed By Guest Blogger | May 09, 2010 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: HIV/AIDS, Mother's Day, My Fabulous Disease

Editors' Note: Mark S. King is a poz writer and video blogger ("My Fabulous Disease") who has advocated for those living with HIV since testing positive in 1985. His book, "A Place Like This," chronicles life in Los Angeles in the 1980's.MarkSKing 2010.jpg

"A boy's best friend is his mother." -- Norman Bates, "Psycho"

I was standing at the ticket counter of the movie theater and couldn't believe my ears.

They were telling me that "Theater of Blood," with the great Vincent Price, was rated "R" and they were not letting me in without a parent. I was a horror-movie obsessed boy of 12, and was inconsolable. "I won't look at any sexy stuff," I remember pleading, "I just came for the gore!"

With visions of decapitations fading like an old blood stain, I made the long walk back home and exposed my broken heart to Mother, who made one of the grandest gestures of my childhood: she took me back for the late show. On a school night.

It wouldn't be the last time she had my back. Over the years she proved a trustworthy ally, and this was never more true than in the 1980's, when gay men often lost their mothers -- hell, their entire families - when an AIDS diagnosis was revealed.

After the jump, a special Mother's Day episode of my ongoing video series "My Fabulous Disease."

Mom never abandoned me or my gay older brother, Dick (is there no gayer name than Dick King? Mark King Mother-150x150.jpgDid my parents consult the Falcon Video Book of Baby Names?). I tested positive in 1985, and Mom immediately went to work educating herself on HIV.

My brother was spared HIV infection but suffered its cruelty nevertheless: his lover of 13 years, Emil, died of AIDS in the early, scorched-earth years of the epidemic. This photo of Dick and me was taken the year Emil died.DickMark-Copy-300x271.jpg

In this special Mother's Day episode of my ongoing video series "My Fabulous Disease," I sat Mom down to find out things I've never asked before. What did she really feel when she found out I was positive? Did she believe I would die? Do mothers have a right to know? What advice would she offer other families? We also talk about the loss of Emil and the repercussions from it we still feel today.

Mom is no expert. She isn't an AIDS researcher and she doesn't march on Washington. She just loves her kids and tries to understand what is happening in their lives and how she can help. If your mother is like mine, we have a lot to celebrate (or remember) this Mother's Day weekend.

Enjoy the video, and please, stay well.

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Your mom is beautiful, Mark. Thank you, and her, for sharing with us.

How similar are we. Five kids, I also had a gay brother. We were both positive, and my mother also found out in the late 80s, when it was truly dreadful news. Luke died in 1991.
I have always felt blessed that the unquestioning support and love of my mother and entire family was always there for me. My mother is just like yours, but with a French accent.
It's very sad to me that our experience in not necessarily the rule. Often it's the exception.

Thank you both. Mom didn't understand why I was "fussing" over her by doping the interview. While it's not exactly earth shattering, the simple words of loving your children unconditionally can be profound. I appreciate your comments!

Your mother is a wonderful woman. And that's a really cute picture with your brother!