Courage in this era of fear

My father taught me what courage looks like.

In those frightening early years of the AIDS epidemic in San Francisco, before the disease even had a name, my gentle closeted father ran towards the fire. He held the dying men, many of whom had been abandoned by their families and now their government and many in the medical profession as well.

He told few in his home life about this. But he told me.

His eyes were sad and mournful as he shared that there was as yet no cure.

But I didn’t see any hesitation in his eyes, nor did he speak of fearing for his own safety.

He never once boasted about comforting the untouchables of the time.

I’m now asking myself if I have the courage to run towards today’s fires, which include:

Thousands of children in cages, their parents far from the border knowing they may never see or hold their children again.

Rising prejudice against LGBTQ people, especially against the transgender community of color.

Women losing choice over their own bodies.

Increasing prejudice and violence against those with brown and black skin.

Bold physical harassment of those speaking a language other than English.

With so many injustices, I don’t even know where to start. It’s overwhelming. But such was the case in the early years of the AIDS epidemic, too.

It’s Pride Month, San Francisco is buzzing, and my mind is reeling. On this Father’s Day, 2019, I look to my father’s spirit and life for guidance.


Read more in Laura Hall’s My Dad’s Closet: A daughter’s memoir, coming eventually to a bookstore near you. Laura and her husband live in San Francisco.


  1. Eddie Casson says

    So powerful Laura. Those early days of the plague were horrific. Thank you for sharing your Fathers courage and kindness with us. We all must join together and run towards todays fires.
    Happy Pride!!!


    • Laura Hall says

      Thank you for your lovely comment, Eddie. I keep seeing images of the firefighters on 9/11 running into the burning towers, knowing their own lives were in near-certain peril. I want to be that brave. Wishing you Happy Pride, too! xo

  2. Bless your good heart, Laura! Good luck with your book to be published.

    I just got my little book (I am the Grandma Moses of writers, self proclaimed) on Amazon this January, and it is sitting there: now for the marketing ride… Check it out, if you feel like it: My niche is the “having a litter experience” which is vital work and a delight even though the current climate is deeply antagonistic to breeders… I figure if we educate the common middle, there will be fewer canines thrown into rescue. Would love your thoughts.


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