/ Community

Louise cared for friends who died from AIDS complications. Today, she volunteers for them.

In our series “God’s Love Stories of Pride” we tell the stories of our donors, volunteers, and clients post-Stonewall. Hear from Louise Kramer, our longtime volunteer, about what brought her to God’s Love, and why she stays.

“I had been a reporter on the health beat at a NJ daily in the late ’80s and wrote extensively on AIDS at the height of the crisis when people were dying all around us. I moved to NYC in 1990 and connected to God’s Love. For the next four years I volunteered on the Wednesday evening shift. I was no longer writing what I thought were important articles about AIDS but I felt that I was filling a need I had to help deal with the crisis in my own tiny way.
In 1994 a good friend was dying of AIDS-related causes and my husband and I were his care buddies. He had a live-in partner, but we would step in and help. At the time my marriage was falling apart, but I stayed with my husband until John died. I felt it was my moral duty to stay at John’s side. We hosted a memorial service for John and I left soon after.
My older brother’s best friend from childhood, Gary, called me out of the blue to say he needed a friend and asked if we could get together. His partner had just died of AIDS. He lived around the corner from me and I was very involved in caring for him when he, too, was dying. I was with him when he died. After that I fell into a depression. Just too much sadness and hopelessness.
Flash forward to 2017. A great friend from the God’s Love family pulled me back in. I’ve been volunteering ever since.
I view my volunteering as a way to honor my dearly departed friends, among so many who died in the ’80s and early ’90s before there were medications that are available today. I feel like I am somehow connecting with them via God’s Love and it makes me feel good to be doing good.
I have had to deal with many of my own health issues including two kinds of cancer, and I feel like working at God’s Love is sharing that I care about others who are sick and that I understand how hard it is to cope, especially for those of us who live alone.
In terms Stonewall, one of my brothers is gay and so is my ex-husband. I am glad that we have come a little way forward since Stonewall to make it easier for people to live in a more inclusive environment.
And, by the way, my ex-husband is my best friend in the world.”