In my profession, I have worked with children who have the virus that causes AIDS. The relationships that I have had with these special kids have been valuable gifts in my life. Let me tell you a story about the courage of Tyler.
Tyler was born infected with HIV from his mother. From the very beginning of his life, he was dependent on medications to enable him to survive. At times, he also needed supplemental oxygen to support his breathing.
Tyler wasn't willing to give up one single moment of his childhood to this deadly disease. It was not unusual to find him playing and racing around his backyard, wearing his medicine-laden backpack and dragging his tank of oxygen behind him in his little wagon. Tyler's pure joy in being alive gave him energy that caused all of us who knew him to marvel. Tyler's mom often recognized that he moved so fast, she dressed him in red. That way, when she peered out the window to check on him playing in the yard, she could quickly spot him.
This dreaded disease eventually wore down even the likes of a little dynamo like Tyler. He became quite ill and, unfortunately, so did his mother. When it became apparent that he wasn't going to survive, Tyler's mom talked to him and she comforted him by telling Tyler that she was dying, too, and that she would be with him soon in heaven.
A few days before his death, Tyler beckoned me over to his hospital bed and whispered, "I might die soon. I'm not scared. When I die, please dress me in red. Mom promised she's coming to heaven, too. I'll be playing when she gets there, and I want to make sure she can find me.”