In my profession, I have worked with children who have the
virus that causes AIDS. The relationships that I have had with
these special kids have been gifts in my life. Let me tell you
about the courage of Tyler.
Tyler was born infected with HIV; his mother was also
infected. From the very beginning of his life, he was dependent
on medications to enable him to survive. At times, he also needed
supplemental oxygen to support his breathing. Tyler wasn't
willing to give up one single moment of his childhood to this
deadly disease. It was not unusual to find him playing and racing
around his backyard, wearing his medicine-laden backpack and dragging
his tank of oxygen behind him in his little wagon. Tyler's pure joy
in being alive gave him energy that caused all of us who knew him
to marvel. Tyler's mom often teased him by telling him that he moved
so fast, she needed to dress him in red. That way, when she peered
out the window to check on him playing in the yard, she could quickly spot him.
This dreaded disease eventually wore down even the likes of a
little dynamo like Tyler. He became quite ill and, unfortunately, so
did his mother. When it became apparent that he wasn't going to
survive, Tyler's mom talked to him and she comforted him by telling
Tyler that she was dying, too, and that she would be with him soon
A few days before his death, Tyler beckoned me over to his hospital
bed and whispered, "I might die soon. I'm not scared.
When I die, please dress me in red.
Mom promised she's coming to heaven, too.
I'll be playing when she gets there,
and I want to make sure she can find me."