Like me, Brian went to Kent State University. His degree was in Fine Arts and after graduating, Brian worked for a period in Cleveland but before long he moved to New York City to take a job at Avon where he eventually became the Art Director. In that position he was very happy and made many friends who were also his colleagues at work. Many of them were also gay and I met several of them the few times I went to visit Brian. I remember one time when I was visiting Brian, we went out to dinner and I met some of his gay pals. They all flirted with me in good fun.
Sadly, Brian contracted AIDS in the 1990’s. He died March 2, 1996, with me by his side. I’ll never forget that moment; he was heavily medicated and was not really conscious. As he died he took one long breath and let it out and he was gone. I remember having a sensory moment where I knew his soul had departed. His physician was there with me and told me that “moment” I had was quite common and that he had experienced it many times. He also said there is evidence that there is even a slight loss of body weight at that moment. After Brian died I took the jade turtle necklace that he always wore off his body, we covered him up with a sheet, I cried some more and said my goodbyes then left the hospital. I then went out with some of Brian’s friends, got drunk then took a taxi back to Brian’s five story walk up apartment on 5th Avenue. To this day I still have his jade turtle necklace and never take it off. It is a constant reminder of my dear brother Brian.
I want to say that I will never forget that experience, but then again, I have Alzheimer’s and at some point that memory will be gone.
Ironically, Brian’s physician is the one that developed the AIDS “cocktail” that allowed so many to have longer, fuller lives. He was doing the testing required for the drugs at the time Brian was there, but Brian was too far gone to qualify.
Below: "The Old Oak Tree"