James Frey is one of my favorite authors. Ok,so there was hella controversy in regards to ‘A Million Little Pieces’. But it was an amazing book as was ‘My Friend Leonard’ as well. Today while surfing the web I was saddened to find out that his son,Leo Siddhartha Frey, passed away July 3rd,2008. He hadn’t spoken or written about it before but for World Aids Day he wrote an essay about his devastation over losing a child.
“On July 3rd, 2008, as my wife held him in her arms and I held his hand, my son, Leo Siddhartha Frey, died. We were in a small room in a hospital in New York, a room that was, and is, part of the NICU, a room where families who knew their children were going to die went to spend their last moments together privately and in some kind of peace, though I would never describe the time as peaceful. As we watched him, and told him we loved him, and cried, Leo took a final breath and his heart stopped beating and he passed, and part of me passed with him.
It was, and still is, an unimaginably horrific experience. Whatever loss or pain or sorrow I have ever felt or known pales in comparison. I wept, literally, for weeks. To this day I cannot look at pictures of Leo, and cannot talk about him without breaking down. I have never written about him, never spoken publicly about him, and after this, may never do so again. He was my son. I wanted the world for him. I would have given him anything and had so many dreams for him, though I truly wanted him to have the opportunity to find his own. Every day he was in the hospital I got down on my knees and begged God to save him, to spare him, to let him live, to let him grow up and know love and happiness and find his way. I said take me, take me and grant him what I have known. Take whatever time I have left and give to him. I begged and pleaded and cried. It made no difference. Leo got sicker, and weaker, and he died. In many ways, I will never recover from it.
When I think of (RED), I think of Leo, and I think of the children who are dying. I think of the pain and misery their families will feel when they are gone. I think of what my wife and I have felt and lived with and experienced and I never want anyone else to have to experience the same things. I think of the fact, and it is a fact, that many of these children could be helped and saved and given life. They can find their dreams and pursue them. They can know joy and beauty and love. They can take their first steps and learn their first words and go to school and have their first dates. My son never got to do any of those things. Nothing we, or any doctor on earth, could have changed it. But we, you and I and our families and our friends and our coworkers, can change it for the children in Africa who are living with AIDS. We can give them the gift that we have been given, and that so many of us take for granted.
They need our help. They need money to purchase drugs. They need doctors who can help them learn to live with their disease. They need hope and to believe that they will see tomorrow. Give them that chance. As someone who knows the pain of losing child, knows the personal apocalypse of losing a child, knows the emotional devastation that I felt and will always feel because my child is gone, I beg you to help. Anything you can afford will make a difference. For them, their parents, their families. It will make a difference. For our world, which is so full of violence and horror and poverty and hopelessness and despair, it will make difference. – James Frey”
James also created a one of a kind hand painted Bugaboo Cameleon stroller – inspired by his children and love of letters. You can check out ebay.com to bid on the stroller and help save lives.(RED) saves lives. So please choose (RED), get involved and make a difference in this world.
Sorry for your loss James..
*edit :James’ son Leo, died 11 days after birth from spinal muscular atrophy, a rare disease that was, at the time, undetectable by prenatal testing and is untreatable and incurable. The Freys wanted to try for another but settled on adopting instead. They adopted a 22 month old (at the time) from a Russian orphanage. The Freys also have a 4 year old girl named Maren.