Tress Temple Gardner died yesterday. She was the daughter of the deceased Carolyn Temple. She was 40 years old. Please keep that family in your thoughts and prayers. There are two boys who lost their mother and grandmother during 2015. A close friend of Mrs. Gardner's posted this note on Facebook about her dear friend last night and gave JJ permission to post it here.
Last night, I felt sick when that time clock went to 0:00. It meant there wouldn't be one more play. It meant we wouldn't have one more chance to score. It meant game over. (She is an Ole Miss fanatic.)
Tonight, Tress Temple Gardner's life ended. Her time clock went to 0:00. I guarantee, she had no idea a clock was even ticking. She woke up this morning with no idea she was fixing to live her last day.
Neither did I.
|Tress Gardner. Source: FB|
Because if I had, I would have called her today. I would have checked in. And she most likely wouldn't have answered, because if she would have known it was her last day, she would have been spending it with her boys, with her husband, with her dad, with her very close friends whom she loved completely. I wouldn't have expected her to answer. I wouldn't have even wanted her to answer.
But that check-in would have reminded her that I loved her. It would have reminded her, on her last day, that I was so thankful for the role she played in my life, starting at orientation at Ole Miss. It would have reminded her that we reconnected over her mother's death, a horrible tragedy that seemed to bring people back to her--not just me, but many--who may have seemed lost to her--and as much as all of us wished for that to never have happened, we knew she saw the positive things that DID happen because of it and through it, and those things made her smile on some very dark days. My check-in would have told her that I was remembering her, that she meant something to me--it would have said that I didn't pretend to be the most important friend in her life, but that she was still my special friend, a funny friend, an interesting friend--an old and new friend that I was just beginning to learn about all over again--in whom I shared many common interests and many inside jokes.
A check-on on her last day would have been a reminder to her that I thought she was one of the most amazing mothers I had ever known--a fierce mama--a do-not-even-look-at-my-children-in-an-ugly-way-much-less-attempt-to-do-them-harm kind of mama.
A check-in on her last day would have been a chance to say thank you for being you, Tress. Thank you for picking up right where we left off, for not being hurt that I hadn't kept up, for not holding a grudge for not knowing all of the trials she had gone through and continued to go through. It would have been a thank you for trusting me. It would have been a thank you for making me smile, for sharing yourself with me, for letting me share myself with you.
A check-in on her last day would have been, at the very, very least, a silent, but acknowledged, good-bye.
And now, her life clock is at 0:00, and I didn't check-in.
And my heart aches because I didn't.
I feel like I can't breathe because I didn't.
My mouth will hardly move. I can type this, but I can't say it. I can't say it out loud.
Because I didn't check-in.
This post could easily be about how stupid it is to get all upset over an #OleMissfootball game, but it really isn't, because Tress got just as upset and mad and jubilant and exhilarated as I did. She knew, like I do, that living life means you experience life--all of the emotions, all of the joys, all of the sorrows, all of the disappointments, all of the laughter, all of the tears, all of the heartaches, all of the celebrations---and any one of them could be attributed to a football game, to a Facebook post, to a conversation with a stranger, to a chance encounter, to an A-ha moment, to a really great episode of Criminal Minds or Quantico. It is just living. And life isn't about the big things. It is about the tiny things.
Her life clock is at 0:00, and I really don't think she would tell me not get upset over a football game--or it's equivalent.
But I do think she would tell me to make sure I check-in. Make sure I say the things that are on my heart. Make sure I say the things I know the people I love need to hear. Make sure I choose my words. Make sure my influence means something, that it is intentional. Make sure the people I love the very most get the very best of me. Make sure I don't have regrets. Make sure I give more than I take. Make sure I laugh a whole, whole lot. Make sure I finish the book. Make sure my babies KNOW that their Mama thought they were the most amazing creatures to have ever been born to this Earth, and that hands down, they are the best things I ever did in my life.
Because I have no idea when my life clock is going to hit 0:00.
Tonight, I am thankful for the life of Tress Temple Gardner.
Your clock may have hit 0:00 today, but you live forever in your boys. You live forever in the people who loved you and in whom you loved.
And there isn't a time clock big enough or long enough for that to EVER hit 0:00.