My Brother Joe

My brother Joe was always a beautiful person — physically handsome (most would say gorgeous), outgoing and charismatic, loving and lovable. If you read his yearbook, you’d see descriptions such as: the nicest guy; always smiling; loves everybody. 

Joe always had a large circle of friends and was always the center of attention in nearly every room he entered; if people were already gathered, their focus would soon shift to Joe — and it would shift because it was good to be in his presence, to be within the radius of his smile and  his laughter. But it wasn’t until he was sick and dying that I came to know the depth of his beauty.

Joe would correct me every time I said he was dying from AIDS and make me say he was LIVING with AIDS. Even in the moments of the most pain, in the moments of morphine-induced haze, he continued to reach out to others; people still came just to be in the presence of his love. Even in
the last weeks of his life, which were spent in the hospital, I was struck by the attraction of his character that brought people to gather around his bedside at all hours of the day and night.

Throughout his life his way of being taught me to be a nicer person, a more welcoming hospitable person, a more forgiving and loving person. Thanks be to God for giving Joe to the world!

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