I never met Josh Baggett.
From all my conversations with those who knew him, it’s my loss.
He passed away Friday morning after a two week battle for his life following a horrific car crash. Josh leaves behind a devastated family and his bride-to-be, Leila.
He was just 27.
I think most of us can remember that age. For many, it’s one of the major milestones on our journey through life.
I was Josh's age when I got married and had no idea what life had in store for me - good, bad or otherwise.
But that’s the joy of living, of finding out what comes next.
We get so caught up in our lives, we sometimes forget how fortunate we are to deal with those day to day problems that we often meld into our identity.
How we handle life's problems always tells us more about ourselves than the issue itself.
That’s how we learn, grow and get better. That’s what I’m told anyway.
News like this never gets easier to process. There’s no easy way to circumvent the feelings surrounding such a real and permanent loss.
Working at a newspaper, I’ve spent more time talking, writing and thinking about death than I ever imagined I would when growing up.
The last year or so has been no exception, and the realities surrounding events like this never get easier.
Making sense or reason out of a tragedy like this is a fool's errand. All we can do is listen, be present and compassionate.
Josh isn't the first young man to be taken away at the cusp of a new chapter, nor will he be the last.
Losing someone is never easy, and there’s nothing anyone can say or do to heal the immediate pain.
Despite our size, we're still a small town in many aspects. Those reading about this tragedy aren’t rubbernecking.
They feel for the family and know that pain in some form or another.
There is strength in community and knowing that his death is recognized and felt by thousands who will lift the family through prayer.
It’s sad that it often takes events like these to bring us back to the immediacy of living in the moment – to appreciate every second we spend with those who bring us joy, who care and love us unconditionally.
We lift up Josh and his family and know we only have a limited amount of time to make a difference as well.
Create your legacy out of love – it’s the only thing that matters and lasts far beyond our time on this earth.
Clay Neely is co-publisher and managing editor of The Newnan Times-Herald. He can be reached at email@example.com