Diana Keough (DK) and Claudia Anton (CA)
DK: You know we thought at first when we heard the word AIDS that it had been prostitutes, or that he had had a transfusion that we didn’t know about. We didn’t realize that he had been living a double life for 27 years.
DK: In the state of Wisconsin at that time there were 150 cases of AIDS, and, uh, I think 149 was dad, and 150 was mom. I actually learned pretty quickly not to tell people about either one of them because we would have dinner parties and people would actually not eat or drink in our house.
Tell me about your memories of dad dying.
CA: I just remember his heart was beating out of his chest like his heart wouldn’t give up but the rest of his body was giving up.
DK: We actually called mom and we asked her if she would just speak to him for a minute. And she refused. So we actually pretended and, um, we told dad that mom had just called and she said that she had forgiven him. And he calmed down immediately and he died…
CS: Died like four hours later.
DK: Do you feel bad about lying?
CA: I’ve thought about that a lot.
DK: Yeah. I think we did the right thing to let me die in peace.
DK: He died in 1990 and then mom died…
DK: ’94, that’s right. When do you feel the saddest about mom and dad being gone?
CA: I get sad when people talk about going to see their parents or spending Christmas with their parents or…I still get a twinge of sadness on Mother’s Day.
DK: I think what makes me the most sad is that neither one of them had an opportunity to be loved or love…
DK: Or be happy.
CA: I know, but I also think it’s the sign of the times, too. You know? The fact is that he couldn’t be who he wanted to be back then.