As Gerald Levert died in November 2006 from an accidental overdose of prescription and over-the-counter medications, everyone wondered how Eddie, who was very close to his son, would cope. In March 2008, Eddie’s second son, Sean Levert, died in police custody from Xanax withdrawals. After that, friends and admirers worried about Eddie and his ex-wife, Martha (Sean and Gerald’s mom), continuing.
Eddie told The Plain Dealer and Ebony about his grief a couple years ago. He also admitted his fathering mistakes. Interview snippets follow.
Eddie Levert: “If it wasn’t supposed to be, it wouldn’t have happened. I wish I knew why. Was it me? Maybe I’ve changed so much to be a better father, spouse, and friend. To improve my life, perhaps. But I can’t dwell. I’m moved. It gets to where [he pauses and his voice cracks]… Missing them. Hard. It happened, so I can’t dwell on the fact that it wasn’t intended to. PlainDealer
Eddie credits his Christian faith with helping him grieve:
TPD: “I read Job. Lost everything. I kept everything. Two sons died. It matters. Yet compared to someone who lost their whole family—do you understand?—I was left something. God’s great. God strengthened me as I prayed. I cried for days. Still. Now I have a purpose.”
Eddie gets by on music and memories of performing with his sons:
“Music heals. My best moments were onstage with Gerald and Sean. I treasure my time onstage with them performing “Casanova,” “Baby Hang on to Me,” and “Wind Beneath My Wings.”
Even now, performing those songs alone is medication. Onstage is my most therapeutic time. I only think about music for an hour and a half. Ignore my knee pain. Please ignore my backache. Please ignore my misery. It disappears when I play that music.” [TPD]
Eddie regretted his hardships raising his two sons:
“When Gerald and Sean died, I wanted to blame myself because I felt like I could’ve spared them from seeing some things I did in my life as a father. Understand? I’m a person too, you know?
I took them on the road for my wife’s break. I’d take the kids for the summer so she could start her Jehovah’s Witness ministry. She was a great woman with a bad man. Know? That guy was a nasty man because he didn’t know what he had, who he was, or what he should’ve done. Ignorance. To learn. [Ebony]
Sean and Gerald have passed on, but they left their father with the greatest gift of all: wisdom.