The art of sadness

Posted August 1, 2013 at 9:55 am


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A PLACE TO REMEMBER – Five months ago three young people lost their lives in a tragic accident at this bridge over Big Clear Creek in St. Clair County. Since that time friends, acquaintances and the curious have visited the site which now encompasses the whole bridge as a shrine to Tori Helm, Ashley Johnson and Josh Willoughby.

Someone keeps the grass and brush neatly trimmed away from the floral tributes that occupy the site where the truck they were riding in struck the low guardrail and plunged over it into Big Clear. Talented artists regularly freshen the vibrant graphics on the bridge’s guardrails and floor preserving the memory of their friends.

Occasionally, a cherry coke from Sonic, Tori Helm’s favorite drink, is placed on the guardrail.

Tori’s mother, Jeanie, said, “It’s a place where I can see her and her daddy fishing. That’s why it’s a peaceful place for me. I guess God needed her worse that I did.”

It really is a calm place, quiet and cooled by the shade trees along the bank of the usually muddy creek that, like time, flows silently on its way making it hard to imagine the horrifying midnight scene that occurred there. It’s a place for friends to gather and remember their friends. As one note says, “In our hearts 4-ever.”

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