Thirteen years: An introduction

An image with a red background and blood seeing to run down the wall, with the words HIV AIDS written in the blood to go with my series about my friend, and the last thirteen years of his life.

Just like I self-published No Consent in 2008, in 2009 I self-published another book. This second book was about an ex-colleague of my army days, who became a dear friend.

It was in my second year living in the Netherlands that I learned he had tested positive for HIV almost ten years earlier, in the second half of the eighties. I was not the only one learning about it then. We all did, as he had never told anyone. He ended up in hospital then, gravely ill, to the point where he was skin over bones, and everyone thought he would die.

He didn’t.

He left the hospital in a wheelchair, gained weight and got well again. He returned to work, and it was in this time, when he regained his strength again, that he and I started corresponding. First with regular, handwritten letters, and then by email.

The book I wrote and self-published was about him. It’s his story, many of it told in his own words. He shared all of his story with me, and in some of his letters he said he wanted to write his story, to have it published in a book. He never managed to do this. Ten years after he passed away, my book was published, but read only by a handful of people, as I never did anything to market it. I don’t want his story to hide somewhere on a bookshelf, which is why I have decided to share it here.

Even though being tested HIV positive doesn’t have to be a death sentence anymore – it depends on where in the world you are – I feel stories like this should be told. It’s not only about HIV. It’s also about life, about love and fear, about happiness and tears. It’s about how friends treat each other, and how friends turn out not to be true friends after all.

The names of all characters in this story, including his, have been changed. Since I called myself Annie in No Consent, I have kept the same name in this series. Only recently I discovered that my friend – Isaac in this series – and I come from the same genealogical line. We shared the same surname, which was brought to South Africa in the last 1600/early 1700. The man who brought it there had four children, two of them boys. My friend and I both descend from the younger of the two boys. This might seem like a minor fact, but to me it’s very special.

The book was called something else, but this series will be called ‘Thirteen years’. Isaac tested HIV positive in 1986, and he passed away thirteen years later, in 1999, twenty two years ago today.

AIDS was… an illness in stages, a very long flight of steps that led assuredly to death, but whose every step represented a unique apprenticeship. It was a disease that gave death time to live and its victims time to die, time to discover time, and in the end to discover life.

~ Hervé Guibert


The moon is full,
the stars are bright
but in my mind, there is no light.

Try as I may to push it away,
it’s here and it’s here to stay.
Miracle drugs are on the way,
but isn’t mine too late to stray?

So help me God, that’s all I ask.
I’m Thy servant,
though my service is in the past.
Is it too late to ask You now?
Forgive me my sins and make me last?
Not forever, I cannot pray –
You see, I am prone to stray,
but could I ask You anyhow?


To be continued… The Dream a Wish Show (1)

© Rebel’s Notes
Image from Pixabay

13 thoughts on “Thirteen years: An introduction

  1. I believe that everybody enters our life for a reason. The fact that you were from the same line and coincidentally crossed paths in your generation… this is a story that is meant to be shared by you. I’m I’m pleased to be able to (finally) get started learning about Isaac’s life, loves and passing. N xx

  2. This sounds like such an interesting story and I am looking forward to reading. What a coincidence that you shared the same roots. That must mean something bigger. missy x

    1. I am just sad he never knew we shared the same roots. Thank you for following the story, Missy xox

  3. Thank you for sharing something so personal and fresh. It is heart-warming to hear this story, and certainly a big part of what brings me to this platform. Good to read someone else getting the same out of it.

    1. Thank you for reading, and I hope you continue to follow the story. There will be a new part every Sunday for many months to come.

  4. Oh wow, Marie! This is such an incredible introduction to your work. The genealogical connection that you shared with your friend is astounding! I will be greatly looking forward to following you on this journey.

    1. Thank you so much for following this, Nora. It’s a story very close to my heart xox

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