Snippets from the Trenches, a mothers AIDS memoir

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The book is broken into chapters about several of the men she met through her work with various AIDS and gay organizations in the Houston area. I learned something from each of these men," said Wagman. The chapters that focus on her son often recount their vacations together and offer a chronological picture of how AIDS affected his health.

Zach's Memoir

Born in Toledo, Ohio, she grew up in Detroit one of nine children in a Jewish household. At 17 years old she moved to Texas to live with two of her brothers and soon married Bob Wagman.

Snippets from the Trenches : A Mother's AIDS Memoir

They divorced when Gary was nine. Mother and son remained close and would vacation together by taking trips to see national parks like Yosemite.

Freda spent most holidays with her son. It has now been 15 years and I still can't get over it," Wagman said. She said she wrote the book with two audiences in mind, gay men afraid to disclose to their families that they are not only gay but also have HIV or AIDS and for parents trying to cope with the unexpected death of a child.

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The parents will hurt and the child is lonely out there," said Wagman. She said she hopes in reading her story gay men will find the courage to talk to their parents about having AIDS rather than hiding it from them until it is too late. Particularly when it is possible he is going to die before I do, it is important to tell them," said Wagman. She returned there in but hasn't visited since.


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This wouldnt have been possible had it not been for those who died in the wake of the epidemic and for people like author Freda Wagman who gave her all to help others, while at the same time coming to grips with her own impending loss. She made the ultimate sacrifice in losing her only child to the disease.


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But in an effort to understand her sons illness and since 1, miles separated them, she embarked on a path of selfless service to help others who were often shunned by their own families. Beginning with a history of the evolution of AIDS, Snippets from the Trenches then tells a personal story of some of the people who suffered from and were lost to AIDS, as well as the angels who were there for them in their time of need.

About the author

At its central, most painful layer, Wagmans story is about the loss of Gary, her son, whose diagnosis was the catalyst for her involvement with the AIDS community. Despite her years of volunteering, nothing prepares her for the loss of her son to the same disease she has watched take so many others.