In 1983, many parents turned their backs on their children with AIDS, while a few rallied to their side. When the AIDS virus infected Suzanne Loebl’s son David, she joined a support group that came to me known as ...
In 1983, many parents turned their backs on their children with AIDS, while a few rallied to their side. When the AIDS virus infected Suzanne Loebl’s son David, she joined a support group that came to me known as the Mothers’ Group.
The book chronicles the lives of the members. We follow these mothers as they fiercely and tenderly stand by their children. The women quietly submerge their own grief, confront a hostile world, and deal with complex medical issues. Most of all they help their progeny enjoy whatever time they have left on earth and provide an anchor amidst fear and despair. However, when they come to their Tuesday night meetings, they let their terror, grief and frustration flow freely.
The book is also a memoir to Suzanne’s son David. It demonstrates how illness did not dim his exuberance and shows how one can be productive and happy even though the future may look dim. In addition, the book provides a snapshot of the gay world, transformed by AIDS—from its newly liberated, somewhat giddy post-Stonewall days to its sober sense of extra responsibility.
“Suzanne Loebl’s story is a poignant portrait of a mother’s unconditional love rising above the tragedy of an illness that brought the end of life to her son and to so many of his generation. A must read for anyone who has cared for or lost a family member to AIDS.”
—Robert B. Saper, MD, Boston University School of Medicine
“Suzanne Loebl is our guide on this journey into the hellish world of AIDS from the late 70s to the early 90s . . . when Suzanne joined the Mothers’ Group we meet women whose stories rend the heart. Because Loebl is such a great writer, the fears, hopes, anger, desperation and self-accusation of these women reach the reader in their full force . . . in the end, it is the sheer humanity of the AIDS sufferers and the mothers that make this book memorable.
—George McCauley, Teacher, Theologian, Author of Eddies Dream
“The Mothers’ Group takes us on a journey with a group of devoted mothers in their struggle to cope with the AIDS illness in their respective families. It is a story that shows the courage and love of mothers for their children, and the sensitivity, compassion and support these mothers provide to each other during the most difficult times, including the death of their children. The lives of the author and her gay son, who eventually dies of AIDS, are described in detail, as they confronts his illness yet remain determined to enjoy life to the fullest. This inspirational book reminds us of what is truly valuable in our lives.
—Phyllis Steinberg, President, PFLAG NYC
“The Mothers’ Group brings together women of diverse backgrounds sharing virtually identical difficult situations to share support and tears. While emphasizing these common bonds between strangers, the story also provides an enlightening insight into the symptoms, treatment—and heartbreak—of AIDS in the 1980s and 1990s. Members of other support groups will recognize
the almost universal sense of guilt shared by parents and families of children facing some of life’s most difficult problems, as well as the wonderful support offered by the Mothers’ Group. Their acceptance of their gay children enabled them to love their children without reservation and support them through their too-short lives. Their grief was unencumbered by guilt.
—Dave Parker, Director PFLAG
“Courageous mothers have been at the front against AIDS from the beginning of the epidemic over 25 years ago, These seemingly ordinary moms advocated powerfully, forcefully and passionately for the dignity of their adult children and all children living with HIV/AIDS. The Mothers’ Group is a timely chronicle of the legacy of support that these women have helped to create.”
—Marjorie J. Hill, PhD, Interim Executive Director, Gay Men’sHealth Crisis.
“The Mothers’ Group’ reveals to the reader the story of those who were infected and affected by AIDS…For the mothers, families and friends anticipating grief and the bereavement the book shares that intimate journey. It is a story of courage and realism and the sharing of how ‘gradually we fought our way back to emotional stability.’ I hope the story will help many who
are still frozen in their grief. I’m sure they will find it hard to read and it will bring up much pain, but it is in itself a vehicle of healing. I can attest to that.”
—Ruth Hall, Sister of the Community of Saint Francis
Director, The Family Link