The Queen, my lord, is dead.
- Scottish Play, 5.5
Fondest memories of Linda? Earliest memories of Linda might be better. I met her in the old flat in London (UK), when she started “dating” my sister.
Linda rolled in as a force of nature, a person that one must contend with and born of a Sagittarius soul, forever happy, hopeful, and problem-solution oriented. While no place in our world is there ever any situation that is purely “black or white,” binary in nature, Linda would approach challenges as such, and break the challenge down into smaller and smaller parts until the goal was achievable.
I forgot about the part were Linda schlepped my sister’s art supplies all over until they discovered that Linda had a fine hand —a fine eye herself — for some of the drawing.
Driving up the hill, the first full day after Linda’s passing, I stopped at the little store and informed one of the residents, I saw the guy not 36 hours before, at the bedside, saying goodbye, then, just letting him know so the town would understand the details. The community.
For me, grief is a very private matter. Perhaps it is my upbringing, but as I’ve pointed out more than one time, the way me and my sister turned out speaks to mental and emotional resilience rather than any kind of formal training.
“There was a time when your sister worried about you very much.”
Heard it before, and I’m sure my adventures or misadventures bothered some.
“She said you were a dog.”
Kind of optimistic because dogs are loyal companions. Me? Not so much. But that was then, and this is now.
Sister has been struggling with the effects of the gradual decline of her spouse for the last 18 months or more. The last weeks were the toughest, but, essentially, since Xmas, the various treatments have been ineffectual, with the hospice care being the option. It was, blessedly, short. Once the disease metastasized to the brain, there wasn’t much left.
I did point out that a brain was not required for political office, so there was that option. Linda would’ve approved of the joke.
Their house is a raucous corner of life and vitality, singing, movement, and depleted art supplies. Home to many militant vegan feminists.
- “Right on, Sister!”
Weeks before, I was busy at both the rock shop and one of the local events, tying to find the right “Zen Rosary.” It’s string of 108 beads, and all I wanted was wood beads, nothing fancy. Priced right, have to work in some Scottish-Irish heritage. Never found one, and I’ll get one — for sure — when I’m home.
I wanted something with which to meditate.
Linda, pointedly, asked several friends to look after my sister.
Never asked me.
“Managed her expectations, Kramer” via, the Death Doulas.
As noted before, my own family has an occasionally dark sense of humor. My own mother — she locked me out — vacillates but the incipient sources are clearly visible.
Sister was ready to wrap this up and move on, and while it won’t always be easy, getting her spouse roasted then toasted was in order.
There’s a scene, from the cult classic The Big Lebowski, it comes to mind.
“Ashes to ashes.”
I never said we were all right in the head.
Naughty Sister Tara related one version of a story, and as my sister’s immediate neighbor, the tale carried so much information in apocryphal manner.
Remember: this is my family, veracity in narrative is never assured; therefore, proceed with that understanding.
“Your sister and Linda would come over, and your sister would play with the kids, while Linda was in the kitchen, fixing supper with me.
“Your sister was on the same level as the kids, an instant kid, while Linda was more like the adult, and me, in the kitchen, watching them play.”
Maybe occasionally punctuated with a roll of the eyes? Paints an image.
One final request, Linda asked for certain mementos to be put into her casket before it was cremated. Objects that mattered to accompany her into the next life. I thought of it like a purported Viking Funeral. Nothing explosive, like, no battery operated devices, and in this life, she became a “Pen Geek.”
I’ve toyed with numerous kinds of writing devices over the years, but in recent memory, perhaps the last decade or two professionally? The simple and humble “sharpie” has emerged as a viable tool.
Inexpensive, readily available, and with a finite texture of its own? Each one is similar yet slightly different. I’d like to send her off with one of mine. The notion that even a simple instrument in her hands would turn out fine art, yeah, that works.