My erstwhile sister-in-law Linda Overton passed to her greater reward this week.
Linda had one son, James; four brothers — Chester, J.D., Alan, and Rick — and a handful of grandchildren whom I never met. She is also survived by her beloved daughter-in-law Tina, and various nieces and even a nephew. She had many friends, of whom I am humbled to have been considered one. Her husband Frank predeceased her, as did her parents.
Linda worked for me years ago. She’d be the first to admit that she struggled with the basic responsibilities of the job, but she gave her presence in my office a certain sparkle and my clients enjoyed talking with her. I showed little patience for her shortfalls. She taught me one of my favorite sayings of all times. When I would limp back, rueful, embarrassed; and apologize for snapping, she’d smile and say, “I forgave you when you done it.”
Linda became a faithful reader of my blogs. She often commented and occasionally sent me notes. She had a whip-smart mind. I never understood why she didn’t pursue jobs or education that would challenge her brain, but I suppose circumstances and the era of her birth mitigated against those efforts. Linda never bore anyone a harsh word as far as I know. She played a wickedly fierce game of Words with Friends, beating me way more often than not. She loved and was wildly proud of her son and his children. She cherished everyone around her.
Linda brought a joy to my heart that did not dawn on me until long after I left her orbit. She reached out to me this year, expressing good thoughts, asking after my health and my new life. We exchanged confidences. I reiterated my regret at not being kinder to her, all these years ago. She reminded me — “I forgave you when you done it.” I certainly did not thank her enough.
I’m two thousand miles from where any service for my departed sister Linda will be held. I will think of her though. I will reflect on the lesson which she taught me. I will be grateful for her and for the grace which she shared. May she rest in much-deserved peace on the shores of a gentle river in the paradise which she longed to see.
It’s the fourth day of the sixtieth month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.