Peace, Love & Gayble
On June 11, 2010, my world came crashing down.
The unexpected happened to my family, along with several other families in the surrounding area. I had always heard of horrible things happening to others, but I never imagined that my family would be a part of such a story. On that day, we lost Gayble, our seven-year-old spunky, fun, loving daughter, in an unexpected, horrific flood at Camp Albert Pike.
The first year after this devastating event occurred was nothing but a blur for me. I recall just trying to survive one day at a time. I struggled to cope from one hour to the next, as the pain was unbearably present - every single minute of the day. Those who have experienced the loss of a child are all too familiar with the day by day process and pain. Losing someone you love so deeply is something that you never, ever “get over.” During this period, I heard so many clichés such as, “time heals all wounds” and that I needed “to move on,” but what I eventually realized is that while I was “without” my baby girl, I could only move forward “with” God’s help and direction. This is not the life that I had planned, but it was the life that God had planned for me. God had thrown me a curveball, and I had to learn to live the best I could with the hand that I was dealt. After losing Gayble, I often have to remind myself, my family, and my friends that “life is 10% what you make it and 90% how you take it.” While I could not control what had happened to Gayble, I could control how I would respond.
Several months after losing Gayble, someone suggested that we should start a golf and tennis tournament to honor her. At first, I thought it was the craziest idea I had ever heard. Yes, our family, including Gayble, loved to play tennis, but golf was an entirely different story! No one in our family played golf, and we had no clue how to plan and host a golf tournament. However, I was assured by many friends and supporters that we would have help and guidance in organizing the event. Reluctantly, I agreed to give it a whirl. I loved the idea of getting to honor Gayble and keep her memory alive. With the proceeds from the event, our family started a scholarship fund at St. James Day School to benefit children who might not have the financial ability to attend this private school. This scholarship would eventually provide full tuition for a child for his or her entire education at St. James.
Prior to the first Gayble Moss event, my husband, Swan B., had never played golf in his life. So, we had a little fun with his lack of golf experience. Our dear friend, Jeff McGuire (better known as JMac), had the bright idea of picking out Swan B.’s golf outfit each year. I mean, if you don’t know how to play, you should probably be the best dressed one out there, right? To this day, JMac picks out his outfit each year, and Swan B. doesn’t get to see it until it is time for him to get dressed. Let me tell you, while Swan B. may not know how to hit a golf ball, he is definitely the cutest “golfer” on the course thanks to his buddy, JMac.
I cannot put into words what this annual tournament now means to our family. Having the ability to celebrate Gayble’s life each year is amazing, and to see the outpouring of love and support of our friends, family and community is incredibly heart warming. It is mind blowing what this little idea so many years ago has now turned into. This year will be the 10th anniversary of this event and will take place on Friday and Saturday, October 16 and 17. On Friday, there is a four-man golf scramble and an adult tennis mixer that evening, which includes dinner and live music. Many of the participants dress in blue (Gayble’s favorite color) which makes this mama’s heart explode. The golfers are all decked out and some even have Gayble’s name or her favorite peace sign monogrammed on their shirts. During the adult tennis event that night, you might see blue tutus, blue hair, blue face paint and more peace signs than you can imagine. On the following Saturday, a kids’ tennis marathon takes place. If you think the adults go all out, you need to come out and see the kids. They have a lot of fun coming up with cute tennis outfits. I am always amazed at the creativity! Seeing these outfits come to life, especially during the glow in the dark tennis, is super exciting. There is something fun that day for kids of all ages.
Through the years, the Gayble Moss Memorial Golf and Tennis Tournament has provided a sense of healing for our family. Those lives changed because of the scholarship money and the education are priceless. The love and support that we feel has been overwhelming. To see the sacrifices that are made to make sure this event takes place is incredibly heart warming. Through the years, I have had parents tell me that this is their kid’s favorite event of the year. I can’t think of a bigger compliment. I want to thank everyone for all they do to ensure that this tournament is a tremendous success. I especially want to thank everyone that continues to sponsor and sign up to participate year after year. We certainly couldn’t do it without you. I want to give a very special thanks to Ann and Rusty Tarwater for all of their hard work managing the kid’s tennis tournament. They make it extra fun for all involved.
Don’t miss out on the fun. The event is this weekend, but it’s not too late to sign up! Please go visit stjamesdayschool.org to register.