From Magie Dominic’s article for The Gay & Lesbian Review:
Sitting by the bedside of someone in the last months of AIDS during the 1980s was like watching clouds over the sun. You waited for the clouds to pass. Sometimes it was overcast for weeks. Then one day, like a miracle, there was sunshine and things were clear, normal, and the way they used to be, for a moment. But most of the time was spent waiting. Beneath the layers of blanket was a person who once shared your hopes and dreams. Beneath all that cloud, the old familiar person still existed. Beneath the swelling and bruises and sores was someone you loved. But it was all concealed. Changed by tubing, dementia, adult sized diapers and food that didn’t require chewing. Blinking metal boxes were attached through wires to a leg or arm. Those machines embraced the body now the way a friend or lover once did. But the feel was metallic. It gave the body no warmth. And this is what the person in the last weeks of AIDS needs. Body heat. To be held. To be whispered to. Sung to. Read to. The machines and tubes and plastic sheets and tissues for everyone’s tears, are all part of the final moments. A Rolex ticking on bone.