For my choice book, I chose to read "Sleep With the Angels". This was a book that dealt with a mother who was HIV positive. Her name was Mary Fischer. I found this to be very inspirational, in many senses. I did however find the book to be somewhat monotonous, as the entire book was centered on Mary and all of her public speeches that she gave, and where she gave them. I personally, would much rather had the book been about her life, her children, how she contracted the disease and dealt with the daily tasks that come along with being a positive HIV mother. Nonetheless, I found this once again to be a very emotional book. The story of Mary Fischer in many ways is very tragic, and in many ways very inspirational. Although this book was not as interesting as the previous books, it was definitely worth reading, as it can teach you a lot about just how strong willed some individuals are and just how special people can be.
Mary Fischer devoted this book to her two children, Max and Zach. I found that to be very special as she lived her life for only two things, her children, and to spread knowledge about the disease she had contracted. Mary Fischer was an ex- TV producer and White House staffer, who became a model for the education of AIDS, as she was a single mom with two preschoolers, and one deadly virus. She was a devote Republican who was a speaker for the Republican Party for many years. Her long list of important friends ranged from George Bush, to Betty and President Ford. You could clearly see that this was a prominent and important person. She was not gay, she was not a drug user, and she did not sleep around, so to say Mary Fischer was everything but your typical HIV case was very accurate. Because of the fact that she was none of these things exemplified the "normal" HIV cases is what made her story so intriguing, and more importantly her speeches so important.
The first of her numerous speeches took place in Salt Lake City, where Mary said she felt the most alone. Her speech was filled with words of education as she brilliantly gave her speech to the Republicans in attendance. She vowed that the Republican Party would adopt a position, which funded research for the virus. Her next speech too her to Amsterdam, the Netherlands, for the eight annual International Conference on AIDS/HIV STD. Many admitted later that it was in the Netherlands, that she realized just how large her family (her "AIDS Family") really was. Her speech here was very emotional, and included such phases like, when the virus found her, it found an American, a mother, an artist, and a women with experience in the media and government. It was at this conference, that Mary Fischer began to establish her position as the National spokesperson for AIDS. Then came the Republican National Convention, in Houston. Mary recalled having this convention being her hardest to address. She remembered not wanting to say too little in fear of the AIDS community, and not wanting to say too much in fear of the Republican Party. Around this time, Republicans were beginning to grow edgy about AIDS. As the President's motorcade drove by downtown Houston, tension settled down. Her next conference took her to Detroit, the place of her birth. Then followed the National Quilt Day in Washington, D.C. I know that this paper seems to be rambling on about the conferences she attended, and the speeches that she gave, but honestly, this is the way the whole book was. Future speeches took her to Greensboro, North Carolina, Boston, West Palm Beach, California, New York City, Memphis and Connecticut. No matter where she went, Mary went there enthusiastically. She went there hoping to change the views that people held about AIDS.
In her speeches, she spoke about how people should not be considered less human because of their infection. She made it quite clear, that people do not choose to have AIDS, but rather AIDS chooses its victims. Mary's greatest fear was that in the society her children would grow up in, people will tell them, their mother, because of AIDS, is unworthy. Mary gave shattering numbers and figures that represented the harsh, cruel reality that the AIDS disease presents. She reports that the number of teens and young adults that have been diagnosed with AIDS has increased by 77 percent in the last two years. She reports that she doubted that anyone, who was infected with the virus right now, would ever be cured. She says that many of the American people have not accepted the fact that this virus will kill millions of people. She said that by the year 2020, we will be counting deaths due to AIDS in the billions. She warned that the fasted growing HIV-positive populations in the U.S. and women, children and young adults. Mary was very fearful of the spreading of the virus because of the people's ignorance to the virus. She told her listeners that in order to get the accurate figures that go with the AIDS virus, you need to multiply the number of HIV cases by up to ten. This has resulted in a false sense of safety. Also there is no sign that anyone who has HIV will not contract AIDS. Mary Fischer was and still is a very special individual. She realized that AIDS is not just an epidemic, but that it is an epidemic of great proportion. Mary Fischer was a very faithful person to her husband. She was not a drug-user, or gay. She was a victim of her husband's promiscuous ways. Because of her husband being unfaithful, Mary Fischer had to contract the deadliest virus we know of. She was left to raise two children not only by herself, but also while fighting the AIDS virus. She was a very loving mother who lived for her two young boys, and prayed that they would not be wrongly educated when it came to the AIDS virus. Although Mary was such an advocate of educating people on AIDS, this was not to say that she was not scared or angered by this virus. She talked about crying violently at the thought of not being able to see her children growing up. She was very scared that this virus was so deadly. She feared that not only had her two boys lost their dad to AIDS, but that they might also lose their mother to the virus.
The remarkable thing about the Mary Fischer story is just how much courage this woman has. I was in absolute admiration of Mary Fischer. This was just another classic case of the virus not having any regards for who it infects. Mary Fischer was a great lady who did nothing to deserve such a tragic lifestyle. She did not do anything wrong to deserve the virus. With all of this said, it is absolutely remarkable that she could show such strength, composure, and pure will for life to continue doing the things she did. When most AIDS victims have a very hard time telling their family, or friends, Mary showed the courage and strength to stand up and tell the world that yes she was HIV-positive, and yes she was scared, but she was going to live her life trying to fight and educate people about the deadly virus that had chosen her. She was not willing to just succumb to the virus, and she showed this throughout this book, which focused on her speeches, that she gave. She became the spokesperson, or poster girl for the virus. She dedicated her life to informing the world that just because someone has this virus, it doesn't make them any less of a person.
She should be greatly complimented for her courage. She was a very loving mother who would do anything for her children. For all of these attributes, Mary Fischer is a very special person. Her story in many senses is very cruel and unfair but Mary chose to fight and educate rather than sit there and feel sorry for herself. I really enjoyed this book. Not as much as the first book, but I did enjoy it. I enjoyed reading about Mary and her strength. One downfall of this book, and all the books it seems, is that they are just too depressing. Then again, when you are talking about AIDS, I guess that all of the stories you read about are depressing, as nobody should have.