Sunday, December 6, 2009

Rest in peace, Linda Clark

Linda Clark passed away on Wednesday, December 2. She took her own life, leaving behind family and friends who will miss her deeply. We miss her already.

The church that held her memorial service on Saturday was full. So many people came to honor Linda's life - I wish she could know that.

Linda was a dear friend I'll remember most for her wicked sense of humor. I loved her for it - and for her passion and her boldness. She said things aloud few people would dare express openly. She was imperfect, like all of us, but she acknowledged her flaws; she never pretended to be someone or something she wasn't.

She had a deep maternal instinct that comforted me, a mother myself. As a stressed-out working mom, I often feel overwhelmed trying to juggle all my responsibilities. Linda shared countless parenting anecdotes and tips with me, stories about her daughter and son that put things in perspective, stories that had me in tears from laughing. I don't know how many times she picked me up when I was down, lifting my spirits with her wit.

I wish I could have comforted her in her moments of darkness. I wish I had known the depths of her despair and helped her find a way out of it.

She was a tough lady, strong and brash. She battled depression but I didn't think there was anything Linda couldn't handle.

I first met her three years ago when she worked at Case Western Reserve University. She joined Word Nerds, an informal network of campus communicators I co-founded. Her presence in the group gave us a jolt - that laugh, those stories! When she left the university we formed an offshoot of the original organization: WordNerds Without Borders. We met every month to share and discuss creative writing projects.

was the star of the show at our writing group gatherings - always keeping us talking, laughing, thinking. Some of us are introverts, yet Linda found a way to draw us all out to share our stories. She was a terrifically talented dynamic, creative force - a writer, an actor, an illustrator and more.

I'm heartbroken that I won't hear that big laugh in my living room ever again.


Anonymous said...

Wow. I have contemplated that option several times, and came the closest to completing it quite recently. I was dissuaded by being forced to hear how terribly that action would harm my children.

The way you describe her is so vivid; the pain in your words is unmistakable. I would not want friends like you to feel that way on my behalf. It is a shame that Linda was not in a place to remember that.

Claire said...

Lisa, I am so sorry. This is a beautiful tribute to your friend.

I hope Anonymous, commenting here, can find his or her way to some help and support to get through the darkness.

Anonymous said...

A wonderful remembrance, Lisa. Reading it, I can hear her laugh and see that big white rose she sometimes wore on her jacket.

One of the things - and there were many -- that I loved about Linda was that she didn't try to be cool. She was the opposite -- very warm. She never concealed her enthusiasm -- for a movie, dinner, a chance to talk, a new idea, or a good story -- especially a good story. She had a million of those. Even though I knew Linda for only a few years, I had a sense of many of the characters who peopled her life.

When Linda showed up at your door, she was unabashedly glad to see you and let you know it with one of her great, big, signature hugs. And that terrific laugh -- conspiratorial, sympathetic, worldly-wise, and warm.

As a friend so accurately said at Linda's memorial service, "when you're suicidal, you can't think your way out of it." When you're in that state of mind, you need professional help to pull you back from the brink.

Anonymous, I'm so glad you stopped short of suicide. You chose to stay, sparing your children and friends a lifetime of grief. I hope you get professional help immediately so you can really enjoy the life you've saved. -- Meredith

Orwell said...

Well said, Lisa.
--Jeff Bendix

Ken said...

You got it exactly right, Lisa.

Of Linda's many unforgettable traits, which one, for me, is most indelible? Her voice. One second it could be so soft we'd lean forward to hear it, and in the next she could make it roar like a race-car engine. What an awesome instrument! Sometimes I worried she'd wake up your children -- and the neighbors' children. But it didn't matter, because we were always too busy laughing. --Ken