There are language barriers among us, we the delegates from around the world gathered in Melbourne, Australia, for the 20th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2014). Sometimes we simply nod our heads in acknowledgment of one another in the halls, or resort to hand gestures when attempting to compare notes about our experiences here.
But nowhere was the mutual understanding of our shared commitment greater than when marching together during the activist event in the streets of Melbourne on Tuesday, July 22. We were a single community of people with HIV and our allies, and as we raised our placards and our fists, we understood one another completely.
The march wound through the downtown area of Melbourne, called the "CBD," or Central Business District -- the architecture of this handsome city is a stunning motif of old and new -- and gathered in a town square to honor those lost.
There were new losses, of course. The victims of Malaysian flight MH17 were on our minds, and on the lips of the speakers. Those who perished were fallen soldiers in the AIDS crisis, too. Their deaths were every bit as baffling and tragic as the other friends we memorialized.
Grief is cumulative, says psychotherapist (and contributor to TheBody.com and TheBodyPRO.com) David Fawcett, Ph.D., L.C.S.W. Each new loss, whether of a friend or a stranger on the news, can trigger our grief for all those who have come before.
In my latest video blog, you're going to be dropped in the very center of the march and its inspiring advocates from around the world, and hear David's thoughts about why vigils serve an important purpose in our ongoing grieving process.
Thanks for watching, my friends. Take a moment to find a picture in your mind of someone you have loved and lost, and hold on tightly to the memory for a moment. Grief is difficult, sad and beautiful, and it is our human way of feeling all the bittersweet emotions that life has to offer us.