Russell Richards Bietsch was born on June 28, 1988 and died unexpectedly on June 1, 2007.? Russell was loved deeply by friends and family alike.? At eighteen years of age, his death has profoundly affected many people.? He graduated from Centennial high in 2006 achieving many accomplishments and touching people emotionally.? His senior year, he starred in the musical ""You're a Good Man Charlie Brown.""? Russell had completed his Freshman year at Georgia State University on an academic scholarship.? He was an accomplished fine arts student in both theatre and classical vocal performance.? In addition, Russell was a black belt in Taido martial arts.? He was survived by his parents Karl and Irene and his brother Klark who reside in Roswell, GA.As his cousin, only four months apart in age, my attachment to Russell was immense.? His character was innocent, his demeanor harmless.? Unfortunately drugs are indiscriminate to those whom they kill, and the survivors are left to ponder the lessons, the memories, and the commiseration.? Firstly, in terms of lessons, education and empathy are my gifts from Russell.? Learning about drugs, their effects, and reasons why or why not to take them are paramount to the prevention of tragic deaths.? Secondly, my memories of my cousin are plentiful and felicitous.? From vacations, to conversations, Russell physical and emotional presence in my life was, and still is, enormous.? When survivors learn to abandon their pity and fear, the only blindingly positive force remaining is empathy.? Of course, the death of a loved one leaves us with a taste of death.? It is only after the shock has worn off may we interpret death's everlasting mark on us.? We must empathize with our commiserators and realize that empathy is the most productive sublimation of our tragic energies.? Russell, my friend and beloved, RIP.
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