The AIDS Memorial Quilt is a tribute to lives loss during a troubling time in our nation’s response to a health crisis. It also is an amazing tribute to the craft of quilting.
A 2012 trip to Washington, D.C. coincided with the twenty-fifth anniversary of the quilt and with the thirty years of life with AIDS. I had wanted to see the quilt since I first heard about it in the late 1980s.
No, I do not directly know anyone with AIDS, but I was still a hospital nurse when the crisis started in the early 1980s. I still remember the first young man who died from it on my floor. I remember the fear some health care workers had when they had to care for him.
I am sad to also report that I remember a comment made by a respiratory therapist that the disease was God’s punishment. I responded that I don’t believe anyone deserves to die that way. Anyone dying a horrible death deserves compassion and kindness; not judgment. And, back then it really was a horrible way to die and there was little that helped. The medications are better now, but there is still no cure.
Yet, despite the sad reason for its creation, the quilt is beautiful and a joy to behold. I hope it helps those who experienced loss due to this illness to heal. I’m glad I finally had a chance to see it.
This post is inspired by The Daily Post weekly Photo Challenge where Shane Francescut asked us to capture an image that tells a full story in a single frame. I can’t think of anything that tells a full story better than this quilt. Can you?