Darkina describes why her father is her motivating factor to stay sober.
I lost my father February 26th. He was 87 years old. He didn’t know that I was HIV-positive. My father took us in when we were about 10 years old. After being molested I couldn’t tell my father and I couldn’t tell my mother. She wouldn’t believe me. He would kill the man that did it to me and so I just stuffed it and kept it to myself.
I took care of my father as my father got sick about five years ago and that was another weight on me – just way too much, way to much, but I loved him. I lost jobs trying to take care of him and I just gave up on that as well and went on to drugs, which hurt him very much.
My father told me if… I remember taking him to the doctor one day and he said, “I want you to stop thinking. Every time they tell you something is wrong with me,” he said, “Stop thinking that I am going to die.” He said, “I am not going anywhere until you get your life together,” he said, “Because if I die tomorrow they can throw you in the ground. You’ll never get off drugs.”
I didn’t think he knew I was on drugs like that. He said, “And I am going to stay here until you get your life together – that’s what I am going to do, and I promise you that.”
After again, going to jail, getting out the last time, he said, “You know, I hope this is it.” He said, “I hope you get your life together,” he said, “Because I am so tired,” he said, “I am very, very tired.”
He said, “And I don’t want to worry about you no more.” I said, “I don’t want to hear it. I don’t want to hear, I’ll be fine. I’ll be fine.” Once I did make up my mind to get my life together I didn’t call him and I didn’t tell him. He just didn’t see me anymore. When he did see me I was about 60-something days clean and a light came over his face that I had never seen, and every time I would go around after being clean, I would see that light.
On my way to see my father I was going to Alba House, but I turned around to go see him. God interfered again because any time I go see my father he sits in his chair and I wake him up. But god interfered and I went onto Alba House. That’s where I received the news that he was gone. If I would have went, woke him up, he wouldn’t have woke up. He had already been dead for two hours. So again, god placed me at Alba House around the right people at the right time to receive such news, I yelled, I hollered, I screamed but I was at home. I was at home when I did so.
All my counselors went with me to his house. My counselors went with me to the funeral and a lot of my peers just didn’t understand how did I not pick up and use again. I couldn’t pick up and use. It’s not what he wanted. He left because he felt I was ready. He felt that I was strong enough to handle it because before he’d go to the hospital and I would smoke more crack, I would smoke more crack, but this time, the crack was not a choice.
My motivation today is to keep on doing the right thing. A lot of my family say, “Well you should have told him.” No, I shouldn’t have. He went the way he should have went. He didn’t need to know about the HIV. He was 87 years old. He don’t have no understanding on HIV, or educated on it. I didn’t want him to worry even more, you know? So hey, I just let him go peacefully like he did. And knowing my father, he is so wise he probably knew something any ways; ain’t no telling. So that was a big part of… that was something for me to overcome, you know. That was a struggle. That was a struggle that I got through.