Gordon Kurtti was my husband’s younger brother. He died in 1987 at age 27 from AIDS. Although we never met, I always feel as if we did. I pass a picture of him putting pearls around his sister’s neck on her wedding day whenever I go up or down my stairs. The painting he drew of two muscular legs in third position are a focal point of our living room. At family get-togethers, there is always some funny Gordon story to tell. I feel as if I know his tastes and understand his sensibility from all the times I’ve heard my husband say, “Gordon would have liked that” while we’re watching a movie or visiting a museum or “Gordon would have liked you” when my daughters draw something particularly outstanding or tell silly jokes. By all accounts, Gordon was talented and funny and I can attest to the fact that he is not forgotten, but is sorely missed. I remember him and miss him and I never even met him.
A memorial to Gordon appears above on the AIDS Memorial Quilt which is always on tour around the world but can also be viewed online at www.aidsquilt.org. How fitting that today, World AIDS day, comes within a week of the announcement that the drug, Truvada, may help prevent AIDS.