January 19, 1949 to March 20, 2010
Linda’s friend, BJ, in Southern California, always called her “Little Buddy.” And for more than 25 years Linda has been my best buddy through sunny days, the Russian River flood of 1986, and the ups and downs of both our lives.
The middle name on Linda’s birth certificate is Joyce. But I think her middle name is Giving. Linda and I met at a little church in Guerneville one winter morning, and a few weeks later she gave me a small travel diary after learning that in the spring I would be going to France to visit friends. Can’t you just see that big smile of hers as she said, “This is for your trip!”?
If you ever expressed a fondness for something and Linda heard about it, you were in luck. I once told her that I liked Butterfinger candy bars. The next thing I knew, there was one attached to my birthday card...and later on, at somebody else’s birthday celebration, hosted at Linda’s house, there would be Butterfingers in my party favor bag, because Linda always individualized the contents of those bags at the countless parties she threw.
Right after Linda’s stroke, when she was just starting to talk again, she pointed at me and asked, “How-you-thing-thing-thing?” I knew exactly what she was saying. I said, “You mean how’s Midnight?” “Yes!” she said. Even at this difficult time, Linda was reaching out to give the gift of her interest in me and my cat.
We all remember the many ways that Linda’s giving touched our lives. And even after death, Linda continues to give. There was a pink donor circle on her California Driver License. Here is part of a letter I received from Golden State Donor Services on April 5th.
Through Linda’s generous decision to donate, the most wonderful possibilities can be realized. Through corneal transplantation, the gift of sight has already been restored to two very thankful individuals from Tennessee and Nevada. The recipients of this cherished gift are a sixty-five year old gentleman and an eighty-five year old gentleman. Both are now able to partake of the immense beauty that surrounds us daily. What a great tribute to your friend.
To close, I would like to read something by Langston Hughes. It’s called “Poem.”
I loved my friend.
[S]he went away from me.
There’s nothing more to say.
The poem ends,
Soft as it began—
I loved my friend.