This weekend I was privileged to attend the formal closing of the Chris Brownlie Hospice, a 25-bed facility on the slopes of Elysian Park, which for 11 years provided 24-hour medical care for those living through the final stages of AIDS.
Founded by Chris Brownlie, Michael Weinstein and Mary Adir, it was the first AIDS hospice in Los Angeles County, born along with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation—then the AIDS Hospice Foundation—in the late 1980s. Those were the very worst of the plague years, when gay men were dying in the street. And the three founders agreed that if people were going to die as a result of AIDS, they should be able to die with as little pain and as much dignity as humanly possible.
The ceremony was lovely, and the speeches—both from individuals who were instrumental in the founding of Chris Brownlie Hospice, and people who had been involved in it’s day-to-day operation—were warm and funny and brief.
It quickly became clear to me that for those who knew this place, its closure was a bittersweet occasion. For even though Chris Brownlie Hospice was a place to die, it was a place of dignity and joy. A place where patients found comfort and peace, while those who worked and volunteered there found strength and purpose.
As Hywel Sims, former director of CBH put it, “It was a wonderful place at a terrible time."
Read the full article at Positive Frontiers