Stories that need to be told

Published 8:12pm Thursday, June 6, 2013

As a writer, some stories flow easily from my fingertips. Before I even write the story, I know exactly what the point is — an ordinance is passed, a ribbon is cut for a new store, someone earned a prestigious scholarship and so on. Other stories, however, are not so easy to write. Such was the case with “Mother keeps up small memorial years after son’s death,” published in last Friday’s edition.

Hearing Alexia Brault-Garner’s story about her son, Cory Brault, who died tragically almost 15 years ago, was heartbreaking. Since her son’s death, Alexia has kept up a small garden outside the Lansdowne subdivision on Old Marion Junction Road. The garden, which blooms flowers of all kinds throughout the seasons, celebrates Cory’s life and represents a mother who has never stopped grieving the loss of her son.

As a reporter, it can be hard to put aside instinctive human emotions, like sadness, and focus on getting the story. Standing with Alexia alongside a busy road where she comes weekly to remember her son, I couldn’t help but feel my eyes well up with tears as she told me about the day her son’s life was tragically cut short. I began to feel as if I could have known Cory, a boy Alexia described as a friend to everyone.

After speaking with Alexia, I began gathering comments from community members who know about the garden and why it has been kept up all these years. Everyone I spoke with shared the same sentiment. “I will never forget that day” and “What she does to remember her son is beautiful,” were just a few common phrases I heard throughout my interviews.

I know I say this almost every week, but I am continuously blessed by the people in our community and their stories have the privilege to share. It’s stories like Alexia’s that need to be told. These are the stories that make up a community and are the beat behind Selma’s large heart.

Amongst the crime and murder — not only in Selma, but throughout the world — it brings me hope to know that there are people like Alexia and small gardens that honor those who didn’t have the chance to live a full life. I know the newspaper has been filled with unsettling stories recently, and it is my hope that Selma is not branded with words like crime, murder and violence. Underneath what is sometimes perceived as a hard outer shell, Selma has a community that is overflowing with faith and courage. There are people like Alexia who despite suffering a painful loss, still find a way to bring joy to others through a beautiful garden. Whenever I pass the Lansdowne subdivision, I’ll think of Alexia and her story — a story I feel privileged to have told.

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