BUOY’S STORY

I have found the article that was written about my first wife and I have posted it below (it details some of her struggles with AIDS).  I remarried and then divorced which is where I learned of the challenges of being divorced, including the affect of divorce on my 2 children (ages 5 and 7 at the start of divorce in 2005), dealing with an exspouse, litigation, and working/dealing with lawyers in person and in the courtroom.

I have edited a few portions of the article to try and keep some items private (such as my name, but chances are that the privacey will yield as you read it and that’s ok because of the powerful force of the message and the article). To help the story flow more smoothly I inserted the name ‘Anne’ for my wife’s real name and I’ll put in the name ‘Buoy’ for me (and Bradley for our son)..

The article is pasted below. Please pass it along.

Please pass along any suggestions for this site to:

info (at) divorcebuoy.com.

Seeya, Buoy

Hope, Health, and Happiness.

Wife’s Diary Chronicles ……..

Before Navy Lt. Buoy learned that his wife and son were infected with HIV, he believed only homosexuals contracted the deadly disease AIDS–and that they deserved it.

“I was wrong,” Buoy said. “It is torture–slow death. No one should suffer as my wife suffered. No one.”

Buoy, a Navy pilot based in XXX, buried his wife, Anne, on Thursday, almost three years after the death of his 14-month-old son–both victims of AIDS. At her death, 32-year-old Anne weighed 60 pounds (on a 5′ 2″ frame) and had gone blind.

“We are the perfect example of middle America,” said Buoy 37, who joined the Navy nine years ago. “If it happened to us, it can happen to you.”

Doctors believe Anne became infected during a sexual encounter in her college days. As the AIDS epidemic slowly permeates society, increasing numbers of heterosexuals are stricken with the deadly disease.

Anne, a kindergarten teacher, grew up on a farm in ……., a small Texas town of 4,000, about 100 miles northwest of Dallas. Every Sunday, Anne attended church with her brother and sisters. The family was not close, though Anne and her sister ……shared most of their secrets.

Anne’s world was small. She had traveled no farther than Arkansas by the time she reached her 20s. She went to a zoo for the first time when she was a college sophomore. “She was a sweet, Southern belle,” said one friend.

Anne met the tall, lanky, blond pilot Buoy at church. He sang in the choir, and she attended every Sunday.

Suddenly, her life expanded. When he proposed, she didn’t hesitate.

“The best thing that has ever happened to me is meeting Buoy,” she wrote in her diary.

The young couple married Dec. 22, 1984. Anne, a 5-foot-2 brunette, joined her husband in the Philippines, where he was assigned as a pilot.

To many of the other Navy wives, it was a bleak outpost. But Anne loved it. She organized lunches for the other American women, arranged shopping expeditions and taught the military children kindergarten at a Department of Defense school.

When Anne gave birth March 21, it seemed to the young couple that they had started to live their dream. More than anything, Linda wanted children. She wanted to take them to the zoo, have picnics and go off on kite-flying and fishing expeditions.

For the first six months of his life, Bradley seemed to be a blissfully happy baby. He scarcely ever cried. He loved being held–whether by his parents or others.

“It was just right–another step in the right direction of what the perfect life would be. If there is a perfect baby, he seemed to be that,” Buoy recalled. “Him being a boy, it was a chance to carry on the family name. I was proud, so proud.”

But Buoy and Anne soon realized that their son Bradley had begun to lose weight, that he needed a smaller–rather than larger–diaper size. Something was very wrong.

For several months, doctors were baffled. The doctors decided to do a test for HIV.  A few days passed and then one afternoon three doctors walked into the hospital room where Anne and Buoy sat with their son. As they sat down, Buoy quipped: “Either you are awfully tired or you have bad news.”

It was March, 1988. The baby had tested positive for the virus that causes AIDS. The doctors said that they had to test both Buoy and Anne.  Several days later, Anne learned that she, too, was infected. Buoy, however, was not.

“It was like the bottom dropped out of the elevator,” Buoy remembered. “There went our hopes, our dreams, because nobody beats it. It’s just a matter of how long you survive.”

One month later, Bradley died.

Anne began a diary. Originally, she bought the diary because she wanted to write about Buoy’s life and hers, their childhoods, how they met, their hopes for the future.

She wanted to pass it along to their children.
Instead, she wrote a journal about her death.

May 11, 1990, Ten till 5.
I am sitting on our couch in our rented one-room studio (before the couple moved to their own house). Sat. May 6 at 5:45. I was really beginning to think I would never make the trip.
This state, county will be my home till I die. I’m not traveling any more. It tires me so, I also seem to get sick.

May 20, ’90
It’s the day after the second anniversary of Bradley’s death. I prayed for him last night. . . . It’s hard to believe he would have been 3 years old. At times I wonder what he would look like, his mannerisms, etc. Buoy would love to take Bradley everywhere with him. The gym, biking, jogging, playground, everywhere.

June 27, ’90
I don’t know how to say or write down what needs to be said. Maybe I’m too scared to write the words. Maybe I’m afraid for anyone to know what really is happening to me. I really don’t know the answers. The truth is I’m slowly dying from AIDS. Yes, everyone is dying, but I know my death is within years not decades.

People are always asking how I feel about having AIDS, or they seem so surprised at my attitude or coping process. What choice do I have? I have to accept the fact and live with it. . . .

I do know I am not ready to leave this earth. I also know when it is time I will be very scared….
Buoy is always asking me what I want out of life. What do I want to do with my life, my goals. I always say I don’t know. The only thing I do know is I wanted a happy marriage, children. I wanted to share so much with my own family that I never had growing up. I still have my marriage to love and enjoy, but my chances of having children are gone.

I was blessed with Bradley for a short time. I feel robbed by losing him, but I am the one to blame for his death. He died because of my foolish actions. He suffered because of me. I only hope he can forgive me. I hope Buoy can forgive me. Because of me, Buoy lost his son. As long as I am alive, Buoy will never be a father, he will not have a child. I hope someday he will be given a second wife and have children. I know it pains him not to be sharing his life with offspring. A child would be the apple of his eye. He would not let anything ever hurt his child. . . .

I don’t feel anything, almost numb! I don’t feel hate toward the person who infected me. I’m not totally sure who it was. I don’t even know if he is still alive. What good does it do to wonder. The damage has already been done.

Anne belongs to a small but growing number of women who contracted the virus through heterosexual activity.

In San Diego County, there are 2,625 cases of AIDS; of those, 124 are women. Acquired immune deficiency syndrome is a viral disorder that is spread through sexual contact, blood transfusions or the sharing of contaminated intravenous needles by drug users.

In the Navy community, Anne is still an anomaly. The majority of the 900 infected patients at the Navy Hospital in Balboa Park are homosexual. And most are active-duty personnel–not their dependents. Among 30 couples where one spouse tested positive, the infected individual is usually the husband, said Dr. Charles Kennedy, acting director of the hospital’s human immunodeficiency virus unit.

Early in the AIDS epidemic, the disease struck the homosexual community. But over the years it has touched others, spilling into mainstream America.

At his wife’s request, Buoy, an aircraft division officer who supervises 70 people at xxx, kept her diagnosis a secret from most of his colleagues. Nor did Anne want her relatives to know the nature of her illness. At her burial Thursday, all but one brother and sister believed that Anne had died of cancer.

Buoy came to The xxx, wanting to discuss his wife’s death–hoping it might prevent further spread of the disease.

“I am 37, I’ve buried my wife, my son and I’ve got a headstone with my name–that’s a little too early,” said Buoy, who is not infected with the virus that causes AIDS. “This doesn’t just happen to drug users or inner-city people. People think this doesn’t happen in xxx. But it does. It does happen to Joe Blow. It does happen to a girl from a small town in Texas.”