You and Jorge had moved out of my place late in 1999 but you were just across the courtyard, so our walks in the morning were not affected.
My Fiftieth Birthday loomed in February 2002, you and Jorge were engaged late 2001 and I had finished my Drug Therapy later that year.
Would I have managed to get to the end of this trial, without your “bossiness”? I don’t really know.
I do know your involvement in my treatment, meant the world to me.
It is hard to overstate what the end of this Drug Trial symbolised for me.
My T cells were high, my viral load was too low to be measured and to all intents and purposes, I should never have to worry about HIV for the rest of my life as long as we kept measuring any movement every three months.
Apart from anything else, it was the end of those fucking horse pills and the end of the nausea.
The conventional wisdom at the time was that if things did not flare up, I should be able to live drug free. John E was my GP at the time and I had absolute faith in this man, he knew as much about HIV as any doctor and the shadows which would later cloud this optimism were not even thought of at the time.
Work wise, things were going well, with regular Auction bookings and my project marketing work with Gary.
We celebrated my fiftieth on Friday the 1st March to make sure we did not clash with Mardi Gras on the Saturday.
I had booked the upstairs of Thai Nesia for the night and Janson was nagging me about the need to limit numbers.
“Bruce, we can only seat 50 people at the maximum”
As the day drew close, it was apparent this number would be exceeded by as much as 50%, I met with Janson and we changed plans so the food would be served progressively during the night and we reduced the seating to four long tables for six people. This was to prove to be a masterstroke; everyone was forced to mingle and no one was locked into a table setting for the night.
The night was wonderful, almost eighty people; straight and gay, family and friends mixed in an eclectic night of fun, food and drink.
Almost everyone there, was aware of the HIV and the pain of the last two years, the night was as much a celebration of the ending of that chapter of my life, as it was to mark my fifty years on this planet
Kearns was a wonderful MC and you and Sas both said nice things about me. Kayla was a presence as she always is, and only Annie was missing. She was in the middle of Australia but we traded messages during the night.
Several friends expressed surprise your mum and Douglas were there, let alone Sas wanting to make a speech at my big night. Kayla pre-empted television history by coining the phrase, “Modern Family” to explain this dynamic.
I was humbled by the love that night, I was slowly beginning to realise just how fortunate I was to have you very special people in my life.
It had been a long road, but that night was a special reminder of the family we had worked so hard to create.
Love and thanks as always