In the midst of recognizing the passing of Ryan White, the HIV/AIDS community lost one of its brightest lights, Clint Walters, this week.  Walters, an HIV educator who was diagnosed at age 17, was unable to survive a heart attack he suffered in his home.  (Check out his Poz profile by James Wortman in the March 2009 issue.)

In describing why he decided to dedicate his life to helping UK teens, he said: “My aim has been to give the children something I never had - a young outspoken face of HIV to which they can relate.”

You and your work will be missed, Clint...

In the AIDS community, the last three decades has seen more than enough examples of young people being taken away from us in the prime- or well before the prime- of their lives.  But senseless passings happen all around us everyday, and it’s only when those events happen within our community of family, friends and even acquaintances, that we are reminded of this sobering fact of life.

Earlier this week, there were reports of a shooting up on the mountain that divides where I live now from where I grew up.  It was Monday night, I was at pool league.  A member of the opposing team was reading updates about a bizarre incident that was unfolding on his phone.  Little did I know it at the time, but someone I have spoken to several times over the last few years was beginning an uphill fight for his life, severely wounded by the random act of violence of a deranged man with a gun.

Tim Davis, a DJ at the local radio station WNRN, was an easy-going guy.  Whenever I went into the station to pimp my music on the local underground music show, Subculture Shock, he was usually there.  And whenever I said something particularly random or goofy, he’d walk in and give me a supportive smile.  I loved that my humor impressed him, and always felt comfortable in his presence.  I didn’t see Tim often, but each time I did it was a pure joy; a room full of nerds who like music and sophomoronic humor.

This morning, Tim passed to spirit in the same hospital I go to for my routine lab work, in the same small town that we both call home.  I know that today his family, friends and radio colleagues are mourning the loss of someone they knew much better than I did.  My hope is that somewhere, Tim is surrounded by his favorite musicians who preceded him on the journey to wherever we go from here.  And my hope is that he’s lighting up that room with the same bright smile that lit up that small room at the radio station. 

Charlottesville sure is going to miss the sound of your voice, Tim.

Positively Yours,

Shawn on:    Shawn’s Sick Days in 2010: 8  Shawn’s book    Decker’s Daily Coffee

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