Following a heavy week in a heavy world, Saturday began with a pleasant early morning run and a beautiful phone call with my sisters before shifting to a pile of work that will not relent. And then the day turned tragic.

My chief of security sent an emergency text that someone apparently experienced a heart attack on university tennis courts and that emergency personnel had arrived on the scene. He soon confirmed that it was Coach Lynn Griffith, a well-known professor and coach for forty years in our community. The prognosis was not good. Later, it was confirmed that he did not survive.

I met Lynn not long after we arrived in Nashville at an open house when Jody and I were house shopping, and I had the opportunity to visit with him from time to time and experience his kindness. But I had nowhere near the relationship and memories that so many in the Lipscomb community treasured. His passing is a major loss.

And then the tragedy compounded.

I have written before of how I absolutely adore our IDEAL program, an incredible gift to our campus that serves students with extra intellectual and developmental challenges. Last summer, we attended a celebration at the end of the IDEAL program’s residential summer camp. Truly, every single camper/student was our favorite, but Jody and I agreed that Savannah Miller had some sort of special sauce. Lots of “s” words work for Savannah—sweet, spunky, sassy, smiles, spirited. Savannah was a Lipscomb student this past year, and she was a presence on campus! I tried not to be a groupie and dampen her coolness factor, but I was secretly ecstatic when my office had the opportunity to welcome Savannah as a student worker. What a gift.

We had been praying hard for Savannah recently. Following surgeries, Savannah was in critical condition in Vanderbilt ICU and unable to have visitors due to COVID restrictions. And yesterday, just a few hours after the notice of Coach Griffith’s passing, we received the heartbreaking news that we lost Savannah, too.

I am oriented toward constant progress, but this has been a year of significant pain and loss. And just when you think that we must be at some sort of sinister limit so that we might regroup and move forward, there is more loss.

I’m not trying to fix or explain it today. Someday soon we must rise to fight again, but some days all there is room for is sadness.

5 responses to “Loss

  1. sandywallis61@yahoo.com

    I’m so sorry, Al. Great losses I’m sure! Know that I love you so!❤️😘😍

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kari Coppinger

    When the best response is to sit with each other in the grief, but our medium for sitting with each other is a written platform, we have to have some words.

    My thoughts turned to a scene from Call the Midwife. An older woman who has experienced great grief says of a younger woman who has just suffered a great loss, “What peace can she have now?” And then follows it with these words to the young woman. “You will feel better than this. Not right now, but you will. You just keep living until you are alive again.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Al, I am so sorry for your losses. Please accept my condolences. I’ll be praying for their families. Sometimes it’s impossible to make sense out of tragedy. Know that you are special to all who know you in Ocean Springs. This year started out on a sad note for you with the passing of your good friend Jim McVeay. Then came Covid 19 and now two tragedies in one day. 😢
    Know you and your family are loved. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautifully written. We are so sad for Savannah’s passing. My son Samuel was in school at Franklin High with her … and the IDEAL summer program last year. Savannah was a bright light and her momma is a beautiful, amazing momma who has experienced such profound loss … losing Savannah, and her brother Garrett only a few years ago. Thank you for your lovely words.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A beautiful tribute to a beautiful young woman.

    Liked by 1 person

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