• 63°

Marking the journey of life, death, community

By Staff
Feb. 25, 2001
Nine-year-old Shelby Edwards of Meridian experienced the first loss of her young life on Feb. 17. I could tell you her story, but I could never do justice to the words penned in her own hand on a sheet of unlined paper from her elementary school tablet.
These are her words:
Shelby Edwards
Age 9
Another note accompanied Shelby's hand-written letter. It was typed and came from her mother, Brenda Edwards. It said:
Shelby, please know that every pet owner who reads this today shares your sense of loss. Pets are wonderful friends and companions and hold special places in our hearts. Whether they die in an accident, of illness or of old age, their lives  and memories are constant reminders of the difference they make.
My mother believes God makes a special place in heaven for pets, and I think she's right.
I also like to think words have power. I want to think the printed word has special power to inform, educate and entertain, and perhaps most importantly, to move people to action.
I want to think our community can help Shelby and her family with the healing process over the loss of a 9-week old puppy she called "Austin Jr. III." She not only gave him a name, she gave him an identity of his own.
And if the driver who hit her puppy is any sort of human being, he or she will come forward to accept responsibility.
In a way, stories such as Shelby's, the kind that touch us personally, illustrate the concept behind a publication you will find in your Tuesday edition of The Meridian Star Profile 2001, "By the People."
We are grateful for all of the people from this community who shared the highs and a few lows of their own lives, their experiences and observations, people with interesting stories well-told. "By the People" is a reader's delight.
Some columns we solicited didn't make the publication. As we considered and, in some cases, reconsidered our original concept, we were reminded this is a publication "by the people." We basically stuck with the concept of giving voice to people whose stories are rarely told, people whose names you don't see in the newspaper every day.
The members of our family here at The Meridian Star hope you enjoy "By the People" and will share your comments with us … because we'd like to do it again.
And, Shelby, while the decision is of course up to you and your family, I hope you can make a place in your heart for another puppy. Not to replace Austin Jr. III, but so you can experience all over again the joy a dog can bring.
Buddy Bynum is editor of The Meridian Star. E-mail him at bbynum@themeridianstar.com.