There was a story in the New York Times about a year ago that NO ONE SENT ME. I know a bunch of you read the Times (lookin’ at you, Frankel). So where were you, my so called “friends,” when Fred Kress was profiled?
The story is ostensibly about hospice care, and the fact that it is better to die at home if at all possible. But what the story is really about is how when you only have a few months to live you can let the glorious crazy deep within you shine, and no one can say a damn word about it.
This is (or was) Fred Kress, he died in January of this year at age 46.
He had been diagnosed with hepatitis C, and only given a short time to live. By all accounts his life prior to death was not the best:
He had had a 20-year love-hate relationship with a girlfriend and was living, at the time of his diagnosis, with his widowed mother. His 17-year-old daughter has Rett syndrome, an autismlike disease that has left her unable to speak. And the day last February when his doctors told him he had no more than a year to live, his girlfriend and his best friend hooked up.
Even more depressing than his whore girlfriend is that he likely gave the hepatitis C to himself. Not through drinking, but through his artistic passion of making fluorescent alien masks out of fiberglass, which he made while working with chemicals, “in a small, windowless room, ignoring all the warning labels on the supplies he used.”
So when he found out he was dying, Kress turned his room into a shrine for the alien masks and 30 mannequin heads (also fluorescent painted). The room looks pretty fly, honestly. I would totally die in that room. And the best part is that he was totally comfortable in this world he was able to create for himself.
This video only has 348 views, which is a shame. Kress is so humble. He talks about his art and his autistic daughter and his thoughts on death. It’s good.
For more stories, including one about turning a room into a Vermont version of a Hawaiian paradise complete with oven heated driveway sand, article here.