A Note from Vince, in Philadelphia…

“Dear Kevin,

Your project is wonderful. Looking at the photos and reading the personal histories makes me cry. I doubt that you will ever read this email, but it makes me feel good to write to you.

My story is no different than thousands of others. But at least writing it in this email helps me to feel good about myself and my life with my life partner of twenty-three years. How I wish I could have called him my husband. For sixteen years together he lived with HIV. I was negative, taught in high school, and no one wanted to know that I was gay and my partner had HIV. That was a dirty little secret. Jon learned that he was HIV positive on the eve of my forty-fifth birthday. It was a special birthday that he had planned: a trip to NYC, two Broadway plays, a nice dinner, and a romantic evening together. That never happened, but the next sixteen years did. I recall the words: “til death do us part.” Those words, although never spoken, we lived. There were some difficult days, and when the end arrived, it was cathartic and wonderful. How strong he made me. How much I loved him? Will anyone ever know?

I wish you a wonderful life.”

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