Kimberly Washington filed this report
An Upstate legislator spoke on the South Carolina House floor Tuesday about the drug-related death of his son, saying it led him to question “my Heavenly Father.”
State Rep. Eric Bedingfield, R-Belton, said his 25-year-old son Joshua Michael Bedingfield died on Easter Sunday after years of struggling with addiction. Tuesday was the first time Bedingfield has publicly spoken about his son’s death and what caused it. In a March 29 Facebook post, Bedingfield asked for prayers and acknowledged those who have reached out to him about Josh’s positive effect on their lives.
“I can tell you that my son was a good man. He meant the world to many people, not just my family,” Bedingfield said. “He helped many people. He helped people conquer things that he himself could not conquer. But thankfully through my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, he won, and he suffers no more.”
AUDIO: Listen to Bedingfield’s address to House (5:40)
While speaking Bedingfield detailed the five-year journey his family endured with battling Josh’s addiction.
“For two and a half years Josh overcame, he didn’t touch it,” Bedingfield said. “He traveled back and forth to Columbia with me for a month. Many of you met him in person. I don’t know what changed on Easter. Something did and now my firstborn awaits me in Heaven.”
Bedingfield admits he is still dealing with the loss but is thankful for the outpouring of love and support from community members.
“Again, thank you for all who have spoken to me or reached out to me,” he said. “But I’m indifferent, ok. I’m hurt. One day I’m good, one day I’m bad. One day I’m sad one day I’m angry.”
Bedingfield urged those listening to not turn their backs on family members and friends who struggle with addiction, but to face it head on.