Dealing with a loved one’s death

Published 11:43 am Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Dear Editor,

I am writing regarding a dear friend, David Bryant. You ran the story about his death in Calera on the Shelby-Chilton Line on Sept. 6, 2013. He was taken from his beautiful family and many friends by a young woman under the influence of drugs. This is especially troubling for my husband and me because my husband is a Shelby County deputy and I am a probation officer.

We’ve moved through many emotions recently that I’m sure are familiar for many others who’ve lost loved ones senselessly. Anger was the first emotion felt. We know that area and are familiar with the meth problems at the county line. This has been an ongoing struggle for law enforcement but when David died, this struggle became personal. My husband lost one of his closest and longest friends in a tragedy that was avoidable.

As we continued to process our feelings we woke up the day after with a little more clarity. We could see beyond our anger and realize that David was gone. In 2 Corinthians our Bible tells us, “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord,” and suddenly we felt peace about losing David.

My husband and I continue to reminisce about David and our memories of him. David was kind, generous, patient and above all things a true innocent. He was not naïve but he had the faith of a child. He had faith in God and humanity.

Pat and I have always adopted the philosophy that all are valuable and all are redeemable. So when this happened we had to evaluate ourselves. If we truly meant that before Sept. 6, 2013 will we be able to mean it now? Will we allow our anger and sadness to turn into resentment toward the very people we told God we wanted to reach? We will not.

Even as this woman faces murder charges and hopefully will serve her consequence to the fullest extent the law will permit, I am ever mindful of her addiction. This world’s justice system will impose her punishment, but it’s in the next life that she will truly have to account for her actions. In the meantime we will continue to believe in the old redemption story and maybe one day she will find the same grace and mercy my husband and I seek daily and that David already knew.

Paula Bloom