Kim is 49 years old. He grew up in Vancouver, born to Doukhobor Russian parents. He found his place in the Vancouver punk scene, creating events, doing graphic design for musicians, and eventually working in the HIV/AIDs industry. He was diagnosed with HIV in his early 20’s and so began contemplating his mortality from a young age. Last year, shortly after having moved to Victoria, he was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma and resulting kidney complications. We spoke about the initial shock and distress he went through, having recently uprooted his whole life. We then moved into his thoughts on how he wants to spend his remaining time. As a gay person, Kim describes not being celebrated coming into this world, “I came into this world not being nurtured as I am. I want to be nurtured and authentic on my way out.”” Kim has been contemplating what this would look like, since so many of the would-be trail blazers who came before him were not allowed the opportunity to create such customs. “What kind of ceremonies do we create as queer men, as gay men, as queer community…what is queer death? I know part of that is celebrating what’s unique for me… I’m not trying to create a template that people need to follow, I’m trying to open up space for people to create their own path.” We then moved into Kim’s thoughts on death itself, “If something happens it happens…what meaning we add to it is the meaning we add to it, but at the end of the day…we’re all going to be gone at some point, so that meaning is just what we hold in our hearts in that moment.” Kim and I talked about finding peace in the concept of interconnectedness and remembering all the ways we remain connected to one another even beyond death.
When asked what he was grateful for, Kim said “I think I’m most grateful when I have a moment to honour just being in the moment… and that can sometimes be as simple as being in silence in a space with other people who are willing to be silent with you and say ‘I see you.’”