Loss Has Given Luke Bryan an Appreciation for How Precious Life Is
Meeting Luke Bryan for the first time, you'd never guess what he's been through. He's jovial and kind and has a grin that could light up a dark town, but country fans know that Bryan has lived through loss.
And more loss.
Tragedy struck Bryan's family more than once — he lost a brother, then a sister, then his sister's husband. But he doesn't dwell. Bryan says he cherishes each day he's given and says chooses to be happy in their memory.
"I'm a pretty happy person. The loss we’ve dealt with has given me an appreciation of how precious and fragile life is," he admits. "And yeah, I carry that mentality into my performances, and even into how I deal with people every day. When I meet people, I want them to leave going, ‘That guy doesn't have a bad day.'"
In a new Billboard cover interview, the country superstar opens up about the deaths of his brother and sister when he was just starting his music career. Bryan was just 20 when he decided to move to Nashville in 1996, but five days before he left home, his older brother, Chris, was killed in a car accident. So Bryan stayed home to be with his mother, LeClaire, who "couldn't bear the thought" of him leaving her at that time.
So he stayed in Georgia, finished college, and worked for his father's fertilizer company while playing music locally on the weekends. Eventually, his father forced a young Bryan to make the move he'd been dreaming of, and it paid off. He got a songwriting gig and in 2007, made his Grand Ole Opry later.
A few weeks later, his sister, Kelly, died suddenly of unexplained causes. That meant LeClaire had lost two of her three children, and Bryan knew he had to be there for her to lean on.
"It forever altered my mother’s belief systems. I’ll get random calls from her when she’s having bad days," he shares, "One day, she’s missing my brother, and one day, she’s missing my sister, and one day, she wants to be around me more, because I’m all she’s got left.
"We give Mama the benefit of the doubt on stuff. She has suffered a lot of pain as a mother, losing two children," Bryan adds. His pain manifests in that glimmering grin.
"I have a really clear idea on ‘Don’t take a second for granted,'” Bryan says, looking to the positive. "You think about it every day. I mean, I don’t go a day where I don’t think about ‘What if my brother and sister were here?’ But you just have to understand, that wasn't the plan."
Bryan will be meet countless fans as he continues on his What Makes You Country Tour, which has many stadium and amphitheater stops planned this summer.
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