“You know, even with AIDS and Wasting Syndrome, I consider myself blessed.” I first tested positive for HIV in 1989. At that time, the doctors told me that I had at most only two years to live.
You see movies and TV of all these people who are going through this alone. Without family, without spirituality, without love. And I’m overwhelmed with it. My friends, my family, and God has helped me through this. Having aids has given me a new perspective on life and what is truly important - It’s not money, it’s not material things. It’s not having your lips like Angelina Jolie. It’s knowing that you’re loved...and knowing with your inner strength of your higher power that it is not your problem anymore, cause you've given it away.
My father was dying of Huntington's Disease and due to my illness and other points in my life - we never got along. He was a minister. And I felt a need to at least make peace with him while he was still alive on this earth. On his last day of life, even though he was so sick and he probably didn't understand what I was telling him, I made my peace with my father. I apologized for anything I could have possibly done and I hoped he apologized with me.
For a long time, I was in denial. Denial is very, very powerful. And I didn’t admit to myself that I even had aids. I didn’t even take my meds for years, and my t-cells dropped all the way to 6. My doctors put me on some new medication after they told me that I was dying, and I’ve really stuck to it, and my t-cells have increased to 84, which is still full-blown AIDS, but it’s hope. It’s that little bit of hope. And you gotta have that.
The doctors only gave me two years to live - here it is now 24 years later. God has kept me here for a reason. Maybe it’s this, maybe it’s my story, maybe I’m gonna reach somebody, maybe someone’s gonna start taking their meds, maybe somebody’s gonna appreciate that beautiful bird in the garden. Maybe not,” Garret says, laughing. ‘You never know.’”