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 http://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.