Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

Lynn Thompson


“My family will never forget the wonderful article you wrote about my mother. You did such a beautiful job capturing her story! I can’t believe you were only 23 years old when you wrote that piece.”


I received the above post the other day, and melted when I read it. Not because of the compliment, but the sender. As I mentioned a few days ago, one of the most rewarding, enriching, heart-breaking pieces I’ve ever written came in 1995, when I did a piece for The Tennessean on a woman named Lynn Thompson, a wife and mother of three who was dying of cancer. I was green to the world of illness and death back then … certainly no expert on suffering. In other words, it was very, very, very hard.

But now, sitting here in 2009, here’s what makes me happy: All Lynn Thompson wanted to know was that her three children would be OK … that, even without her influence and guidance, they’d survive and live productive, happy, enriched lives. It was, I believe, her greatest concern. She was able to handle her own demise. But how would that impact her kids? How would it scar them? Could they bounce back from such a loss?

Well, they have. Are they scarred? I’d have to guess yes—who wouldn’t be? But, largely on his own, Warren Thompson seems to have done a wonderful job. All three children graduated from college; work jobs; live lives that are productive and impressive. Warren is a grandfather. I’m learning all this off of Facebook, so my information is limited. But it gives me great pride—great pride—to see how, 15 years later, Lynn’s greatest wishes have come to fruition.

It’s a lasting tribute.