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Linda passed on unexpected, suddenly suffering a hemorrhage of the brain. That was the day after she had returned from a family visit to the US. We will miss her.
No one who attended the funeral service of Linda, at St Columba's Church in Parkview on Friday 24 May, could have been unmoved by the eulogy given by her dear brother and only sibling, Gavin. His grief, his shock at the suddenness and senselessness of her death, and his obvious torment over things done and not done, said and not said, were painfully evident. And they echoed, in greater or lesser measure, the feelings of each one of us.
Some, like Dawn (who flew in from New Zealand), knew Linda longer than most and cherished more fond memories of times spent with her. Others, like Erich, had been closer to her. But I believe there is no one who knew her who did not recognise a special, rare quality that set her apart from the rest.
For me it was her remarkable selflessless, a generosity of spirit that never failed to leave me, by comparison, feeling inadequate and rather mean-spirited. If anyone could be relied upon to think not of herself but of another, it was Linda. Whether it was volunteering to fetch me a drink while I got the fire going, or offering a contribution to valet the RAV after a weekend away, Linda never failed. If one person were to remember my birthday, it would be Linda. And as Erich observed: she remembered, she didn't have to rely on her diary.
I will always think of Linda as one of the stalwarts of the All Stars. Despite the tribulations, frustrations and sorrow that she bore - and as we know, hers was not an easy life - Linda was never one to burden others with her troubles. She was stoical to a fault, dignified in adversity, ever gracious - even in the midst of our familiar fests of criticism and complaining - and was never abandoned by her gentle sense of humour.
As Gavin pointed out, we will search in vain for a reason for Linda's death. I believe, however, we owe it to her to learn from it: we are not invincible and life is not dependable. In many ways, Linda showed us how to live. And from her sudden death, perhaps we should learn how to make the most of the time we have, and to prepare ourselves for our own passing.
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