Unreal to think that Jill is no longer here. Jill-Conley-Tamara-Lackey-Photography-1 We all have so many memories of her, and my most poignant one was actually a phone call – the long, beautiful conversation I had with her after Stuart died. She called to say she was sorry, that she was so sad, and that she was pretty surprised. She said that it didn’t seem like someone who could fight that hard could actually pass away. Which is exactly what it felt like this morning, about her – it didn’t seem like someone who could fight that hard – the female version of Rocky Balboa, as Bart Conley so awesomely said – could actually pass away. And she shared so much of that big-hearted love she was known for, even in the midst of the serious pain she was experiencing herself. Jill-Conley-Tamara-Lackey-Photography-3

I’ve been thinking about her meeting him today. One of the most striking things about Jill in conversation with Stuart Scott was that you couldn’t help but notice how much these two people, who hadn’t known each other before, had in common. We were a full table out at dinner and everyone kinda just dimmed and watched them talk. They were both so seriously fun and dynamic and easy to connect with and they absolutely commanded attention simply because of how they seemed to shine, no matter where they were or what they were doing. They were also both STRONG. Like, insanely strong, by any standard out there. And, of course, they also shared that connection that none of us wanted either of them to have. As they compared chemo details and treatment options and side effects horror stories, they also toasted and shared hugs and sang and danced and LIVED, because that’s what they both did so naturally, and because that’s what they were both so clearly intentional about doing. Jill-Conley-Tamara-Lackey-Photography-2 Our friend Sally Sargood & I were talking about how Stuart had to have met her this morning with one of those giant hugs he gives. How we imagined them both saying how amazing that life that they just lived was, how they got to make as much of an impact as they had hoped to before they got down here – probably even more. How it was pretty awesome to have made a true and genuine and lasting difference to such an enormous amount of people. And probably, also, about how that last part – the dealing with the worst parts of cancer part – totally, completely sucked. But at least, now that part is freakin’ done. I bet they even know why it all happened how it did. But we still don’t. Jill-Conley-Tamara-Lackey-Photography-4 Please consider donating to The Jill Conley Memorial Fund, to help the Conleys offset their expenses, something Jill did for so many others, through Jill’s Wish, for years. I love you, Jill. You will be missed and missed. Jill-Conley-Tamara-Lackey-Photography-5