David's Angels

There is no good way to write a story about David.

I met David a couple of years back during a BBQ I held at my home.
He was very helpful, sweet and generous.
He was a loving individual and he brought us laughter... and liquor.
The most important things of all, really.

As time passed, in truth, I was rarely hanging out with anyone because I was unemployed.  I went out several times with a college friend I was close to, and even those outings were brief.
My focus at the time was school and starting a career in the field of psychology/counseling/social work.

I believe we all went to a brunch one afternoon, and David met some of my other friends, perhaps went to brunch with them on a separate occasion and got emotionally attached.
I was somehow the common denominator in this scenario.

See, the thing with David was, that he was harboring 2 secrets about himself.
The first one, which was actually quite obvious to everyone, was that he was a gay man.
He had this self hatred about who he was and he never wanted to see that no one cared who he slept with or dated.
David had convinced himself that the only person who would ever love and accept himself for who he was, was his mother, who had passed away about 2 years earlier.   Maybe a bit less...
He had a brother who he shared a home with, who he was constantly at war with.

For whatever reason, David attached himself to my best friend and to my classmate.  Both of whom were not very close to one another, but were like sisters to me.

He and my classmate's friendship deteriorated very quickly being that her schedule was very crazy with full time work and school to bat.  She was always double/triple booking herself for events and she also had a boyfriend.  I barely saw her myself during that time.
David quickly took it to heart claiming that she was fake, not a good friend, etc, etc, and proceeded to cut us all off, one by one based on their crumbled and quick friendship and on some falling out my best friend and I had for the billionth time.  While, to she and I, it was routine, now I was the enemy  because of my friendship with my classmate (who he newly hated) and temporary falling out with the BFF.

While I mentioned all those good things about David earlier, I can speak honestly and openly, when I tell you that he was also petty and ridiculous.  Oh and did I mention unrealistic?

How were we supposed to know how he was truly feeling and what he was going through?
None of us had any idea.

As time passed on, my former classmate and I grew apart.
My BFF and I made up (as was habit).
She was still hanging out with David but she was also, always very busy even if she truly wasn't.
She started dating this nightmare of a man... enough said.
And as do most people, her life revolved around this guy.
I think to an extent, David sensed this guy was a loser.  But I also know that he felt like he was losing his friendship with her because of her new romance.

Anyway, as David normally would do, instead of letting things run its course, he got anxious.
He started to nag her to death about how she should or shouldn't do things.
Then, because I was in his good graces now that I was no longer friends with my former classmate, he would come running to me to complain about the BFF.
I would tell him the same things (again, ignorant to what his real worry was...), "David, that's just how she is. You have to let her learn things for herself and let her be.  You can't smother her and if she says she's busy you have to accept it."  I would also tell him that those things about her would at times annoy me too, but not enough for me to be as upset with her as he was.

David started to struggle emotionally and little by little he distanced himself.
I was once again cut off, since I was not a significant factor in his life.
He cut off anyone he met through me, then cut of some of BFF's friends and finally, he cut her off.

BFF thought he was being over dramatic and amusing, of course.
I barely knew the guy other than my direct sparse interaction with him.
But one thing I did know was that this dude had lost tons of weight in a year and had gone into a depression.
He claimed that he was dieting and exercising but where? When?
He would constantly talk about death and being with his mother and how that day would near soon.
BFF, being the usual self involved individual she is, and never ever ever taking into account that other people have real problems, thought he was attention seeking.
I know when people speak of death under that context, that it's not just attention they're seeking.
It's a cry for help.
And giving someone the suicide hotline is not the way to help them.
Advising them to seek God, is not the way to help them.
All you can do is be there when they need you IF you can, and that's it.
Not lecture them about how you think they need to handle their feelings or tell them that they're being ridiculous for feeling the way that they are.
That's a huge no -no.
In truth, we never know what's truly going through their heads or what secrets they're harboring.

Months passed on and on, and I received notice from BFF that David was in the hospital with pneumonia for something like a month and that she would find out more.  She didn't go to the hospital to visit him.  She didn't call him.  Her attitude was that he didn't want to deal with anyone, so she wasn't going to bother because he put himself there.

I was never close to him, honestly, so while I was curious and asked about him daily.... that was the same response I would get.

It wasn't until after David passed away weeks after we found out he had been in the hospital for about 5 months straight, that the truth came out.  David had been living with HIV for many years and in the last 2-3 years had stopped taking his medication so that he could die and be with his mother.

He died from pneumonia ultimately complicated with AIDS.

After realizing that no one pushed hard enough, particularly those closer to him, I was angry.
Angry at David for not speaking up.
Angry at BFF for always being so damn self absorbed.
Even a little angry with myself for not realizing that there was something more to David's bouts of hysteria.

How did WE allow this to happen?

At his service, an old friend and co-worker of David's stood up and talked about not pushing hard enough and always checking in with friends you love and care about, regardless of how hard they push you away.  Especially when their behavior is radical.

A theme that hit close to home in my own head at times.....

David's death taught me that those that matter to you, should always matter to you and when they push you away, you need to push back harder.  And that there's nothing you can do to truly ease their pain because it's something that's ingrained in them.  A chemical imbalance.  And should be treated as such.  Not as a phase or a touch of drama.  That people generally go through things internally, the rest of us know nothing about.  And that we shouldn't assume to know someone's story based on what they tell us, but instead to pay attention to what they show us.

It doesn't hurt a damn thing to reach out once in a while and see how someone feels, how they're doing.  And if the feeling is nagging, we should do it regularly.

And finally, if we've pushed all we could with no result, then we can at least rest easy knowing we've tried.  That being caring should come naturally at not cost as well.

Since David's death, every single year, my team and I walk for him... with him... not only to honor those we remember who've suffered in silence with AIDS but simply for those who've suffered any ills in silence.

Thanks for reading and thanks to those of you who've supported us along the way.


In memory of David Silveira 4/29/77-3/4/13


  1. I read your post about David and I have to say that it is inspiring to read that there are people in this world who can understand when someone is suffering from an internal demon. This demon can be an illness, depression, isolation, etc. It is nice to know that people like you out there, can understand that when a person suffers with such demon, he or she should not be pushed away.

    1. You're very welcome and thank YOU so much for reading!!


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