Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Remembering Freddie Mercury: Sep 5, 1946 - Nov 24, 1991

I'll keep this short. I believe that there's only ONE Freddie Mercury. I sometimes wonder what he would think of this time of AIDS, if he were alive? Would he still keep his disease a secret? Would he take the medication that, in turn, would keep him create new music? As a fan and as one who's found a source of inspiration in Mercury's music, a vehicle through which I discover that pure moment of bliss, as a fan I often wonder what he would do, if he were alive today?.... One can only imagine.

I want to remember him today and every day. I don't think links are really necessary here. One has only to type in "Freddie Mercury" in any search engine and the results will pour. One site I found interesting, for those who want to learn more about Freddie the man (rather than the idolized star) is Freddie Mercury: biography. There's a movie, a documentary on Mercury's life (can be found in 10 min installments on YouTube,) and also I did enjoy reading Freddie Mercury, by Peter Freestone.  Of course, this is only one of the many books on his life.

RIP Freddie Mercury (September 5, 1946 - November 24, 1991)

I'd like to share a short excerpt from my book, Journeys Through Darkness. This excerpt is from a chapter I called "Dark Angel" and it makes some brief references to Freddie Mercury.

"Queen the Musical in Berlin" Copyright Alina Oswald, 2010.
Hope you enjoy the read. Hope you remember Freddie Mercury.
As always, thanks for visiting,
Alina Oswald

Chapter Three: Dark Angel
The Messenger of Death Is Here: Light, Darkness… and an Accidental Cat

    “Maybe there’s strength in denial,” Kurt Weston says, explaining his mother’s inability to accept his “death sentence” diagnosis back in 1991. A Lithuanian immigrant, his mother experienced the Second World War, TB and hepatitis as she was trying to get out of a war-torn Europe and leave behind her homeland, which was to become forever associated with people being blown up, with hunger, disease and other war atrocities. She came to the States as a displaced person, forced to start her life over again in a safe, yet unfamiliar land of opportunities and promises. She had to learn a new language and ways of living in order to be able to integrate in the American society. And she succeeded, partly because of her survival abilities, which she believes are forever imprinted in her genes.
      So in late November 1991, when Kurt’s doctor told her that the oldest of her three children might not survive his fatal disease, she refused to accept the grim prognosis. She could not accept defeat and did not expect her son to just give up when faced with any of the obstacles fate threw at him, even when they were spelled H-I-V, and A-I-D-S, and D-e-a-t-h. She had survived them all—disease, pain, loss—and she knew that Kurt could do it, too.   
      Sitting by his hospital bed, she grabbed his hand and said, “You’re my son and you’re strong. You got this strength from my genes and you’re not going to die, because you, too, are a survivor.”
    At the time, though, the photographer didn’t feel anything like a survivor. He didn’t know what his future was going to bring him or if he had a future at all. And so, he told his mother that he didn’t think he was going to make it. He had serious reasons to believe that.
    During his first hospitalization with pneumonia, doctors placed Weston in an isolation ward, which was a common procedure of dealing with AIDS patients, in order to prevent the disease from being spread, because, at the time, experts were not sure of all the ways it could be transmitted. Therefore, when it came to HIV/AIDS, everybody--visitors and medical professionals alike--had to follow hospital rules and go through two separate doors and a ventilation system to enter the patient’s room.
      Kurt Weston woke up hooked to tubes and machines, not sure what was happening to him. He opened his eyes only to realize that people wearing masks, gloves and suits were staring down at him.
      During his hospitalization, doctors started him on intravenous Bactrim, which is a full-spectrum antibiotic used to treat PCP. The treatment started to work and a few days later Kurt began feeling better, in fact well enough to sit in his bed with the IV medication dripping in his arm and watch the news on TV. That’s how he learned that the disease had taken the life of Queen frontman, Freddie Mercury.
      Unlike Mercury (who died of AIDS-related causes on November 24, 1991), Kurt Weston is still alive. The visual artist has survived his first bout of PCP and two others that followed. His doctor released him two weeks later with a list of medications he needed to take as maintenance treatment and with a six-months-to-live prognosis.
      Like Mercury, Kurt Weston was forced to keep his disease a secret, at the time. His physician advised that the best thing for him to do was to continue taking his medication as prescribed and go back to work. He also told the photographer not to mention to anybody at Pivot Point about his diagnosis, in order to avoid the stigma associated with the disease, because, the physician added, “people wouldn’t understand [the AIDS situation].”

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