On May 8th Hope For Change had a benefit concert featuring an amazing line up of great musicians. Terrance Motley opened the show, the band 3 performed and Ceili Rain brought the evening to a great close. We were honored to have as guests 3 legendary musicians; Jerry Marotta, Tony Levin and Pete Levin. If you’re a musician or if you’re familiar with music of the last 3 decades, you will know who these guys are. They have played and recorded with the best of the best in the music business and we were blessed to have them participate.
One of the songs performed that night was a song I wrote about an encounter I had with an 8 year old girl dying of AIDS. I have to give credit to my dear friend Bob Halligan, Jr who, as the founder of Ceili Rain, also performed at the benefit. Bob helped me through the songwriting process to help me tell the story. So, here’s the story….One evening my wife Vanessa and I went to visit a patient in an HIV-AIDS ward. As we entered the reception area I immediately noticed a young, frail and obviously ill little girl. I was initially taken back by her appearance. She was visibily dying of AIDS. She had the open sores that afflict so many of the patients. I have to confess that my first reaction was to try an avoid her. When she saw me she came right over to me and followed me wherever I went. I finally asked someone about her. They called her Girlie, which is a popular nickname in the Philippines, but they didn’t really know her name, she had been dropped at their doorstep. For whatever reason, fear, shame or both, her family wanted nothing to do with her. She spent her days on a temporary bed in the reception area, they didn’t have a room for her. No one came to visit her. All this little girl wanted was to be held, she needed human touch, love and compassion. So, there I was trying to avoid this beautiful little girl who had no one and just wanted to be held. My insides were screaming, “who needs love more than anyone in this place”, I knew the answer. I decided I would hold her. To this day I can remember how hot with fever she was. She just laid there in my arms the entire time. When it was time to leave I hugged her good-bye with so many emotions churning inside. Two weeks later I learned that Girlie died. I cried when I got that news, but I was so thankful for her because she taught me so much in that one short visit. I really learned that there is a difference between having pity and having compassion. We all can pity a person or situation, but compassion moves us to action. I couldn’t heal her of her disease, I couldn’t do much of anything….except for what she wanted….to hold her….and that was the least I could do for her. Please watch the video of the song.The Least I Could Do