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.
Linda 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.