Wednesday, April 23, 2014

To Linda



When I first met Linda, I had a job training hundreds of people who didn't want any part of what I had to train. Truth be told, I didn't want any part of what I had to train, either.

There were better ways to make a living, but I didn't have my thumb on that pulse at the moment.

To be fair, some of these folks -- my students, trainees -- had been doing the same job the same way for decades. Theirs was not a pleasant job to begin with, and my overhead projector and red-point laser didn't offer much comfort as to days ahead.

In response to the training classes, some students lodged complaints with ER. Others wrote the publisher or CEO (you know, as if). A few chose a more peaceful form of protest and put their heads back in their chairs during class and snored.

Most, however, just argued and gave me scathing end of the session evaluations. "She thinks she's so great, but she's not," will probably nag me through life.

So back to Linda. Linda was new to the company, and in my class. And she was that kind of person, you know -- the kind of person everyone likes and everyone wants to befriend. Not sure how this works, but I think it has something to do with charisma. She could clear an hour of uncriticized class time for me with one dry witty comment. Pity I didn't save one of her dry witty comments, but trust me, they are somewhere out there, tickling the universe.

When a job opened up in publications, we all lobbied for Linda. Linda! we said. Linda, Linda. We didn't even know if she could write (she could), but we just wanted to hang out with her, really. Anyway, she got the job.

She got the job, she met Sandy -- another trainer, another gentle soul. They fell in love, moved in together.

We all weren't best friends or anything, but the two of them, they helped me through a rough patch. When my dog died and I got divorced, within a six month period. I took off, and they took care of my cockateil -- she had a whole room to herself. At that time the bird was sort of my lifeline, and often (all too often) I'd call to ask, "Are we still flying, freely?"

Eventually, Sandy and Linda left LA, moved to Portland, bought a house, got two dogs, two jobs, traveled lots of places, always together. And that's the happy ending.

I heard from Sandy that Linda is dying -- in two days or two weeks.

The bad news is, those happy endings aren't really endings -- we're only human. The good news is, we're only human. There is no end. I think we're always free and flying.

24 comments:

  1. So beautifully put, Karin. One day I will call you, or you will call me, and the message will be "I'm free and flying, no end."

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  2. That's such a nice thing to say, Petrea. I'm so sorry about Linda. You made me really like her. It's so unfair somehow that being a really nice person doesn't protect someone from dying too young.

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  3. Very nice thoughts, Karin. I want to hear more about Linda.

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  4. Beautifully written, Karin...
    Yours, too, Petrea....

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  5. The last sentence sums it up.. It seems as though we have to go through several life lessons and each one seems to go beyond the previous one...Life is one big test.

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  6. This is so beautifully written with the best saved for last. "The good news is, we're only human." That's the rub, isn't it? Everything comes down to that, the good and the bad and everything in between. I have been wrestling with that and feel there is no way around it. Now I have your words to hold onto, that there is no end and we're always free and flying. I hope Linda feels that ~

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  7. ^^^ What Sharon said because I'm sort of speechless at the moment. Well done, Karin.

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  8. So beautiful and sad and filled with love and, yes, even hope. I'm so sorry your friend is at this stage of life. May she slip away gently, held aloft on the wings of angels.

    Much love,
    Carolynn

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  9. It's sometimes true that being rejected by the herd can be so very painful, but Linda didn't seem to have a herd mentality, in fact, she must have thought you were pretty great if she chose you for a friend. This is such a beautiful tribute to her and to your friendship, Karin, thank you for sharing with us.

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  10. Such a range of emotions in one spare
    piece.

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  11. I'm glad I was able to introduce you to her. Of course I've been thinking about Linda all day. She's a very strong person, as well as funny and sweet. Raised in one of those religions that didn't celebrate birthdays or holidays, and as a child was made to go door-to-door while her mom preached the word. She broke away from that as a teen, no small test of character, that.

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  12. I have a friend who is dying--actually a friend of my dad's--who visited Tim and me last December on his way from York (the one in the old country) to Hawaii. Of course he's a great guy, and when we got the news that he has little time left--well, it just didn't make sense. Thanks for this piece, which helps. It's nice when the tears can splash on good writing.

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  13. I am so sorry about Linda. Your words are comforting and beautiful.

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  14. I am so sorry about Linda. It sounds like she has lived a joyous life, and would like everyone to think of her as flying around without limits. I hope those memories give comfort to you, and everyone who knows her.

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  15. In the midst of life, we are in death.

    Life's finitude is its defining character. "Nothing matters very much, and few things matters at all."

    Walk through a graveyard and pause there once in a while. Peace and perspective guaranteed.

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  16. Waiting on the other end of the line for that phone call. So hard to be a comfort to the one left behind. Harder still to be the one left behind.

    which begs the question - do doves cry?

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  17. You know, people can believe in heaven and hell, or reincarnation, or in nothing at all. Some social scientists say love is simply a survival mechanism. But nothing thus far explains why we have art, imagination, music, and can appreciate beauty for beauty's sake. No philosopher or scientist has ever been able to explain This. Not to my satisfaction, anyway.

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  18. Whatever answers we've been pummeling ourselves and each other with over the centuries up to today, matter little. I don't think we've ever found the question.

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  19. A very nice tribute and post, Karin. Like Earl, I'd be interested in hearing more about Linda and Sandy. But as fine as the post and the Beethoven are, these words of yours are what will most likely stick with me (of course, it's already been stuck there for some decades now):

    "But nothing thus far explains why we have art, imagination, music, and can appreciate beauty for beauty's sake. No philosopher or scientist has ever been able to explain This. Not to my satisfaction, anyway."

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  20. A lovely tribute to your friend Karin...
    As for no explanations for "art, imagination, music, and can appreciate beauty for beauty's sake"...all I can say is...
    what is the explanation for the human spirit???


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  21. Lovely people drift in and out of our lives. It's a wonderful and beautiful phenomenon. Heaven, whatever that means to anybody, awaits.

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  22. I don't know what I'd do -- what anyone would do -- without Beethoven, or Rembrandt, or Shakespeare, or so many others who put art into life and life into art. Life, numbered though the days may be, is a million times better for it.

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  23. I hope the memory of the happy middle eases the pain of the inevitable end.

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  24. This is a great and moving tribute to your friend.

    It is sometimes very hard to come to terms with the passing of people we know. Linda sounds like one of those.

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