Friday, October 07, 2005


I've blogged before about Linda, my beautiful sort-of-aunt, who was really more of a friend than anything else. She had cancer, and had been in the newspapers with her hope and her treatments and her splendid positive attitude. I'd post the link again but I just now tried it and the articles are gone.

Linda was the kind of woman we all wish we were. She was kind, and loving, and generous. She worked hard all her life, and she loved her children and her husband and her home. She had more talents than a convention hall full of people. Her laugh could be heard above everyone else's, in a crowded room.

This picture was taken last spring, at the last family reunion. That sweet smiling man at her side is her husband Barth, who is just the sort of man who deserves a woman like Linda. (If any of you have a connection with the Indiana University Medical School in Ft. Wayne, Barth's face will no doubt look familiar. He's a top dog there, but golly, he acts just like a regular person. Only better. And funnier.)

There is so much I could say about Linda. How much we all liked her, and loved her, and wished we could see more of her. How much we admired her, and envied her all the incredible talents she had. How any room that Linda entered suddenly became brighter and more fun and better in every way. How she made us want to strive to BE more and DO more, even while she so obviously loved us just the way we were.

But I think I can best sum up Linda by telling you something about her role in the family.

You see, she's not really an aunt to any of us. Neither is Barth an uncle.

Barth's first wife, the beloved and precious Sharon, was Hub's aunt. When she died suddenly a few years ago, the shock was so great that none of could could believe she was gone. Sharon was so vital and wonderful, it was impossible that she could be gone. Barth was devasted at the loss. We all were.

About a year later, our phone rang. It was Barth.

"Jane, I've fallen in love," were his exact words. Most of me was delighted, but there was that tiny little speck of me that wondered what kind of 23-year-old gold-digging floozy had gotten her hooks into him.

Boy, was I wrong!!!

Linda entered our lives, colorful and fresh and bubbling with love for Barth and for the world.

We were worried that with his new marriage, Barth would no longer want to be part of OUR family. Wrong again. He and Linda fit in with us as though she had been there forever.

Not many women would be comfortable hanging out with her husband's former wife's family. Linda was at ease from day one. She was determined to like us, and we were determined to like her, and to the surprise of us both, we didn't even have to try. It was so easy to love Linda.

I don't think I've ever met a woman with so many perfected talents. There were few things she could not do. I think her talent for putting people at ease and making them feel important was one of her strongest talents.

She had such enthusiasm for life.

In that picture, Linda was planning out her funeral. She was very particular about the music, and she was confident that in this family, any musical preferences would be easily met. She wrote it all out, a script. She wanted this, and this, and this. She did NOT want that, and that, and that.

She joked that she was taking applications for Barth's next wife.

She wasn't depressed. She wasn't sad. She would have loved to live, but since that wasn't going to happen, she was making sure everything about her death was going to be exactly as she dictated.

This weekend, we will find out exactly what those requests were.

I wish I had told her all these things that I am telling all of you. I meant to tell her. I fully intended to tell her. I ran out of time.

We often do, don't we. We put off, and put off, and our intentions are good, but by the time we actually get around to doing something important like telling a beloved friend how we really feel about her, it's too late.

Now. I hope all of you go straight to the phone, or your email, or get out your prettiest stationery, and start telling the people you love exactly how you feel about them. Do it now, while it's on your mind. Don't wait till it's too late.

I did, and I will always regret it.

Linda Kathleen Ragatz. I miss her already.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 9:46 PM | |


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