Health & Wellness

Nashville mayor Megan Barry thankful for outpouring of love after son's overdose death

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry has written a touching thank you letter to her community for the outpouring of love in the wake of her son's death from a drug overdose last month.

Barry and her husband, Bruce, lost their only child when Max, 22, died of a drug overdose near Denver on July 29.

It was just a month after he graduated from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington.

Mark Humphrey / AP
Nashville Mayor Megan Barry wrote a heartfelt thank you to the community for their support in the wake of her son's death from a drug overdose last month.

In a heartfelt letter to the people of Nashville in The Tennessean on Monday, Barry wrote candidly about the the anguish of receiving the news from police who showed up at her door at 3 a.m. on July 30.

"In those next few moments, we were crushed by a weight of sadness and grief — of pain and disbelief,'' she said. "But within hours, we were surrounded by close friends who came to us in our time of need to shoulder this great pain and burden.

"What happened next was a tremendous outpouring of love and affection from all over Nashville and across the country. Close friends and perfect strangers sent their thoughts and prayers, offers of assistance, and deeply personal stories of their own similar pain, and how they were able to push forward."

Mark Humphrey / AP
Mayor Barry with her son, Max, and her husband, Bruce, after she was sworn into office in 2015.

At an emotional memorial for Max on Aug. 1, some 550 friends, family and political associates of Barry gathered to remember his life with speeches, songs, poetry and video tributes, according to The Tennessean.

"You’ve blanketed us with love and kindness. I want to do everything in my power — and with my power — to do the same for you,'' she wrote.

Barry, a Democrat who has been Nashville's mayor since 2015, said Max went to rehab last year. It's unclear which drugs were involved in his death. In an interview with NBC affiliate WSMV, Barry said Max was administered a dose of Narcan, a drug that can revive people who have over overdosed on opiods, but it didn't save his life.

In her Tennessean column, she wrote that her son's death brought her closer to parents whose children have died.

"Over the last two years, I’ve talked with many mothers who have lost children — most often to gun violence. I knew enough to know that I couldn’t really understand how painful that must be," she said. "Now, I know. Now, I understand."

"With that knowledge, I must move forward for all of the people in Nashville who are not as fortunate as myself or my family to have an entire city come together and lift them up in their most tragic and painful moment."

At the memorial for Max, friends remembered him as a generous person with a good sense of humor and a love of the outdoors.

"He himself had the heart that was the size of a mountain," friend Tommy Prine said.

Follow TODAY.com writer Scott Stump on Twitter

TOP