Christmas is Robert Brewster's favorite time of year, but it's also the hardest. The 80-year-old HIV survivor doesn't have many friends left to share it with.
"I just think it's a time you have to reflect because Christmas is about family and with my nephew not here, my son not here, I don't have a significant other," Brewster told NBC Out. The gay senior has lived alone in his Manhattan apartment for 20 years. The furniture is old but looks brand new. Framed photographs of loved ones sit atop his piano. It's an instrument the former opera singer referred to as "his life."
"Oh, I wouldn't even dare try to say," Brewster said, when asked how many friends he lost to AIDS. He took a deep breath and looked up as his eyes welled. "If I put a number to it, it was many, many, many, many, and most of the people I knew, they're all gone now. There's not hardly anyone that's still alive."
Christmas is always difficult for Brewster, who was diagnosed with HIV just two days before the holiday. That was in the early 90s, the height of the epidemic, he said.Read More ▶