Sunday, February 18, 2018
Human Interest

A battle with AIDS comes to an end

Editors note: This story originally appeared on Page 1A of the Times' on March 3, 1992.

Even nightmares must end. Early Monday, Jennifer Cupp woke, startled. It was dark. Her husband, Jerry Goodman, writhed next to her. He was having another seizure, she thought to herself. Weakly, she fell back to sleep.

When she awoke later Monday morning, she knew: It was no seizure. Jerry had died. His nightmare, his part of their nightmare, was over. He was 35.

For two years they have faced AIDS together. Twice during that time their lives have been chronicled in St. Petersburg Times photo essays. Those first pictures, well, they looked good.

Two years ago Jerry found out he had contracted the HIV virus that causes AIDS. By then he had already given it to Jennifer, his girlfriend. She was five months pregnant and could not bring herself to have an abortion.

Eventually Jerry and Jennifer married. They had their baby, a little girl, Glenda. Her parents took joy in her. They both still looked okay. But soon, they got sick. They got well, then got sicker, and thin. They fought and split up. They knew trouble. They made enemies.

Then last summer Jerry came back and they were husband and wife, sharing a one-bedroom apartment in Tampa. Their life was hell, but they managed.

Their baby, Glenda, seemed sick, too, prone to infections. They feared the worst for her, but they kept hoping.

Last September, in their last moment of joy, they learned Glenda did not have the HIV virus. They cried. And soon after, they had to give her up. She is now with legal guardians.

Jennifer, 29, sees Glenda once in a while, but only when she feels well, so not too often. She and Jerry just came back from a two-week stay in the hospital. They had pneumonia. For a while, Jennifer was only semiconscious.

Then one day, she says, "I just woke up." To her nightmare.

She doesn't even know where they took Jerry. She called the coroner and they just came and got him, that's all. He'll be cremated. There will be a memorial service. She doesn't know where, she doesn't know when.

She has less now than she did before, she says. Never enough food. Always calling people for help. Money, food, anything. Always waiting for someone to come over. Always waiting for the nightmare to end.

Glenda turns 2 years old March 28. That's 25 days from now.

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