This week there will be no hate, only love

Folks, I’ve tried, but I can’t conjure up any hate this week. For me, “hate” comes from a place of joyous exuberance, and in light of Ella Bresee’s tragic passing, I am neither joyous nor exuberant. If you’ve come for my normal hate article, I’ll be back in full force next week for Wake Forest.

I am rarely at a loss for words, but this is one of those times. I write a sentence or two, read them, delete them, and then try again. I have been trying to write this article for the last two days. I am a believer in empathy. The ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and experience life from their point of view is a skill that is in short supply these days. I can’t empathize with the Bresee family. I have an 8 year old daughter and the thought of losing her before her 16th birthday (or ever) is too much for me to handle emotionally. I can’t tap into the raw emotion required. I hope I never walk a mile in the Bresee family’s shoes, and I hope none of you do (or have).

Instead of normal hate, I’m going to talk about time and love. I’m sure if you ask the Bresee family what they want most in the world right now, it’s more time for love. Time is our most important asset. We all have a finite supply and have no idea when that supply may run out and yet I find myself wasting it on a daily basis. We live in distracting times and I often lose focus on the people I love. Even when I’m with them physically, I find myself staring at my phone or letting my mind wander to my next task, when everything I truly value is directly in front of me. It’s something I need to work on.

My grandfather George passed away when I was 11 years old. Looking back on our short time together on this earth, his ability to use time impresses me the most. My grandparents didn’t have a lot of money, but my grandfather always had time. We spent the afternoons fishing, hunting squirrels, driving around in the tractor or taking the trash to the landfill. I was his shadow, and he took me around rural southern Indiana, doing nothing in particular except being together. All I wanted was his time and attention, and he gave me both without hesitation. There were no phones or screens to distract us, and the only deadline we had to meet was dinner time. Those were truly some of the best days of my young life. I have a lifetime of memories with my grandfather, even though he missed almost every important milestone in my life, all because he understood that time is our most precious asset.

There is no positive conclusion to the tragic death of Ella Bresee. There is no silver lining. However, we can learn from Ella. We can value our time with the people we love above all else. We can put down our phones and be physically and mentally present with each other. On Sunday, instead of lounging on the couch, watching football, and monitoring my fantasy team, I’m taking my daughter fishing in Ella’s honor. I will honor her memory by creating memories with my own daughter. She will probably end up in the ER for a hook removal, but that will make the story even better (in hindsight, of course).

I know the Clemson family will come together to support Bryan and the Bresee family. That is who we are and that is what we do. As you do so, I humbly ask you to consider how you spend your time, and perhaps cut a portion for the people you love in Her honor. I promise you, you won’t regret it.

Rest in Peace Ella Bresee. Your time on earth was short but well spent. May you be an inspiration for all of us to move forward.

See you next week, and Go Tigers.