R.I.P.: 25th anniversary of Harry Kondoleon’s death

March 21, 2019

Harry Kondoleon left this plane of existence 25 years ago, March 16, 1994. Like so many of our friends who were casualties of the AIDS epidemic, at the end of his life he was blind in one eye, skeletally thin, and in a lot of pain. He passed away in his bed holding his father’s hand. (portrait above by Robert Giard)

In the last year of his life, Harry published DIARY OF A LOST BOY, his surrealistic novel about living with AIDS. The book was very well published (by Alfred A. Knopf, no less!) and well-received critically. Most important, Harry performed a spectacular act of grace and self-healing by envisioning his own demise.

The book ends with a quote from Meister Eckhart: “Listen then to this wonder! How wonderful it is to be both outside and inside, to seize and to be seized, to see and at the same time to be what is seen, to hold and to be held — that is the goal where the spirit remains at rest, united with our dear eternity.”

Just before that, the final paragraph of Harry’s text reads:

“My face is down in the dirt, but make no mistake, it is a beautiful place. Even the little bowls of bread soaked in milk Kim has left near the oak tree for me only enhance the landscape which is God’s presence. Even the dead flowers must be groomed and honored, and by leaving them we leave death, and those are the attachments of this world. Fear be gone! Please do not feel sorry for me — I go to some place thrilling!”

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