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health as it happens

Mother shares son's story of addiction - Shelby Star

Melony Lewis knew of her son’s demons, but she didn't expect his life, and death, to become a cautionary tale about drug addiction. 

On the surface, Brad Murray was accidentally struck and killed while walking along East Dixon Boulevard in Shelby. 

Under the surface, Melony said her 32-year-old son was high on meth and not walking in a safe area. 

The call she got about his death was not exactly shocking, but it was still devastating. 

“It breaks my heart that it happened the way it did, but I knew something was going to happen,” Melony said. 

'Tangled up'

Brad was part of a big family with three siblings and later three children of his own. 

His mother said his life took a turn at a young age. By 16, he was addicted to pain killers. He dropped out of school.

“He was really the kindest, sweetest person. He would help anybody. He just got tangled up with the wrong people,” Melony said. 

Before his death, Brad’s existence wasn’t what it once was. 

He was homeless and addicted to drugs without custody of his children. 

One last hug

Melony lives in Patterson Springs, but on April 15 she was driving through Shelby when she saw her son walking the streets. 

She stopped to check on him. He was hungry. Days of giving her son money were long gone, but she still wanted to help. She bought him some food then went about her day. 

The still grieving mother said she’s thankful for one thing that afternoon.

“He did give me a hug and told me he loved me,” she said. 

That would be their last exchange.

Stints behind bars

Melony said she’s not misguided about who her son was. 

A look at his criminal record doesn’t paint the portrait of a model citizen with crimes mostly related to drug possession. 

“I loved him with all my heart, but I did not like his ways at all,” she said. “Morning, noon and night, he was my son... He was a mess, but he was a good person.” 

The pull of addiction proved too strong for Brad who even after stints of incarceration would return to his same stomping grounds and companions, she said. 

Did he suffer?

Four months since her son was struck and killed by a car, she continues to grieve. When speaking of her son, Melony smiles and laughs one moment then chokes back tears the next. 

She remembers how her son died along the side of the road, the snacks she bought him still in his pocket. 

She talks of her grandchildren’s future without a father. 

She shares concern for the innocent man who hit her son because he didn’t see him in the road. 

She wonders if her son suffered. 

“I wonder, did my son see the car coming? Did it clip him? Did he feel any pain?” she questioned. 

End of addiction

Her son’s tragic road has opened Melony’s eyes to addiction and homelessness. She tries to make a difference even if in a small way. 

“Now when I see homeless people, I will feed them. I won’t give them money, but I will buy them a meal.”

When she thinks of her son, she tries to remember the kind man who loved Chevrolets and basketball, but she can’t forget what addiction has taken from her and her family.

And she hates what it took to make him quit.

“This was the only way he would stop,” she said.

Diane Turbyfill can be reached at 704-669-3334 and [email protected]