In loving memory from the Brookhaven community

• Jevonta Dickey – 18 – Oct. 14

• Shaquan Richardson – 18 – Oct. 14

• Curtis Gunnell – 17 – Oct. 24

• Nicholas King – 19 – Oct. 24

• Kylee McCord – 16 – Oct. 24

• Faith White – 15 – Oct. 24

• Peyton Flowers – 18 – Nov. 6

Over the last three weeks the entire Brookhaven and Lincoln County family has been, saddened, shocked and stunned over the untimely and unfortunate deaths of seven teenage men and women.

Parents are grieving the loss of a son or daughter. Family members grieve the loss of a brother or sister, grandparents a grandchild. Aunts and uncles grieve a niece or nephew. Teachers grieve the loss of their students. Churches grieve the loss of a dedicated member. Friends grieve the loss of a good friend, and the entire community grieves along with them.

What can we as a community do to show our love, care and support for the families and friends of these seven individuals?

School administrators, teachers, coaches and friends have all made wonderful comments about each student and their individual character and contributions to schools and the community.

Prayer vigils at schools and churches across the area have lifted up the families and friends. As we go through the weeks ahead our community will not let these families grieve alone.

First Baptist Brookhaven Pastor Greg Warnock said in his service last Sunday that Brookhaven is a small close-knit community, and we must come together as a family and help each other through this time. We heard another pastor say during a funeral that we can help those families grieving over the loss of a loved one by praying that their burden be moved onto our shoulders. By praying in this manner we can allow the fruit of the spirit to work among those mourning.

Brookhaven should not be afraid to grieve. Don’t try to understand why these three and a half weeks took the lives of so many.

Don’t forget the families. Don’t be afraid to love. Don’t be afraid of emotions. Don’t be afraid to just listen.

Treat the families with love and respect, but don’t treat them differently. Be sure to remember and mention their children. Help bring the family along, and remember that gap will never close and never go away. These families will need their community and its support more than ever.

Don’t forget how strange your student may feel when walking by a friend’s locker and realizing that friend is gone. Most of the schools have brought in counselors and others to encourage and support students. Those students will continue to need help and may not ask or seek advice on how to handle their grief. Don’t be afraid to recognize that need.

Included at the top of this editorial are the names of the seven students. We believe that Brookhaven will continue to help these families heal and forever remember their names and unique personalities.

Psalm 34:18 says “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”