Story about Maitri, the AIDS hospice, on Boing Boing


On TokyoMango, I rarely write about what I do other than find Japanese oddities to share with you. But today I want to share the story of Vinny, a man who lives at an AIDS hospice that I have been volunteering at for the last year and a half. Vinny is dying of cancer and AIDS and doesn’t have that much time left in this world. I am honored that he chose to share a significant amount of time with me over the last few months. Every time I see him now, it’s really sad because he is getting sicker and sicker. I’m watching him die. Please read his story, buy his book, or donate to Maitri. This means a lot to me.

I’m a volunteer at Maitri, the only remaining AIDS hospice in San Francisco. Once a week, I hang out with its 15 residents, run errands for them, and — sometimes — sit at their bedsides as they go through the process of dying. I do it because I like to face my fears, and death is the one thing that I fear the most.

The Last Hospice on Boing Boing

4 thoughts on “Story about Maitri, the AIDS hospice, on Boing Boing

  1. @Revisorius: He would absolutely love a letter. Actually, if you want to put letters to Vinny in the comments I can read them to him or print them out. Thanks!

  2. Hi Vinny,
    I read Lisa’s account of your life and wanted to write you a note letting you know how much it touched me. I’m sure it has touched a lot of people today, and I hope you can feel some kind of collective love from it as a result.
    I am so glad you were able to get your book put together. I have ordered a copy and look forward to reading your poems. Your strength in the face of life and death has inspired me, and reminds me that I need to appreciate every day.
    If I wasn’t down here in SoCal I’d come by to shake your hand and ask for an author signature on my book! As it is, I thought I’d say thanks for your courage and for sharing your story.
    At the risk of sounding presumptious, I hope I can call you friend. Please know that you have many such friends out in cyberspace today, and that you are not alone.

  3. Lisa,
    Thank you for this moving, eloquent glimpse into VInny’s life. I’m a psychiatrist, and so also work with people undergoing similar difficulties, but even I rarely (except with therapy patients) have enough time to really hear about their lives as a whole. Your writing inspires me to keep trying to keep the space open for that. Good on you for working at Maitri. As you must know, Maitri means “loving kindness” in Sanskrit; I often give a lovingkindness meditation to my patients, and your last quote ties in directly to that.
    I also love your blog, too, by the way – though this is the first time I’ve been moved to actually post a comment. I’m sure Vinny and your words are touching many – and I will repost.