by Jennifer Bowman
I normally do not write topics that are controversial. I take little or no delight in cruel or hateful writing, nor do I wish do speak ill of people in general. Gossip is not my forte and neither is angering the city of Cleveland and its people, whom I hold so dear. So I am going to talk about a subject that might give you pause to think about life: death. Just as there is life, there is death. It does seem that way now more than ever, doesn't it?
We are constantly surrounded by death in our newspapers, on our television, in our movies and in our music. Not to mention being surrounded by death in our own lives and community. Normally it is a completely taboo subject in most families, schools, and communities. When we lose a loved one, whether it is to disease, violence or even suicide, most of us are left to face our pain alone. Dealing with your emotions when someone close to you has died is also really tough, and there are a number of feelings that you can go through. There is no right way or wrong way to handle death, as everyone reacts differently. Grieving for a loved one can affect every aspect of your life. Death for the young is always extremely tragic, after all, only the good die young. If someone has died unexpectedly, you may feel shocked and confused about why it has happened. You can also feel angry that someone has been taken from you.
My great-grandmother, Granny Julia O'Bannon, accidentally ran over one of her own granddaughters --- a twin named Julie that had been named after her--- and killed her. It must have been a horrifying experience, and to be quite honest with you, I don't think I could have dealt with it. I sometimes wonder if I will have the emotional capacity to deal with early, unfair deaths of either my future children or husband, much less a situation like that. I have cried myself to sleep over the deaths of innocents in Palestinian and Jewish battles when I was nine. I am not emotionless and I understand the pangs of grief. But sometimes people react to a certain person's death more than any other.
Colby Stansberry's death was tragic, just as any other death of a young person. He was in a car that apparently was speeding, travelling down a road I drive on almost every day; From what I hear, Colby Stansberry was a charismatic, extremely talented young man, with much left in life to offer him. Chris Ward, driver of the car, has also had to deal with the pain of a loss of a friend, as well as legal issues resulting from that accident. He is also a terrific young man who unfortunately will carry the burden of the death of his friend around for the remainder of his life.
The year previously, a Cleveland High School band student named Corey Teague jumped into a pond and started having an asthma attack. His friends could not get to him to rescue him on time, and he drowned. From what I've heard, he was apparently a great person, friendly and a well-accomplished student. Again I ask why people react to a certain person's death more than they do another?
There was an excellent proposal tossed around by some community leaders several months ago on the heels of the tragic death of David Weir, to create along the Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway Walking Trail a memorial for fallen heroes. Can you imagine if we had a tree with a plaque, a bench or an appropriate memorial for every person missed by someone in our community? Or trees with a plaque, a bench or an appropriate memorial for those policemen, firemen, emergency personnel, teachers and soldiers who died in the line of duty or helped make Cleveland such a great city? It would be a great way to say thank you to someone who has shared part of their life with us in this community. What a way to celebrate the life of the person who has passed away. If you are struggling with the loss of someone you love, it is all right to think about, talk about, and express yourself about their death. In fact, it is a very necessary part of life and can help you in the healing process. You should take comfort and know that others also care about your lost loved one and about you.