ROY OAKES A LIFE GIVEN
January 24-31, 1998
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      Our friend Roy was a practicing Buddhist who lived with HIV for fourteen years. He was a vital, elegant, witty, generous man. When infection weakened him to the point of needing round the clock care, a circle of five women friends gathered with his mother to help him through his ending days.
    Roy, who practiced the Buddhist tenets of conscious living, and now dying, began bringing his life to mindful closure. He sorted through belongings, considering who among his loved ones would appreciate meaningful items of remembrance. He called friends to share a final conversation. He received friends who brought their love, respect, music, stories, silence, and laughter. And gentle tending, always gentle tending, was offered. Buddhists believe one must be free of attachment and conflict in order to leave this realm in a calm, joyful state and begin a next life similarly.
       Roy requested that I photograph the care given him during his last week of living. In acknowledgment of his bright spirit, these images limn the beauty of his awareness and intention, and his attainment of a peaceful transition.

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