My Friend Linda
On Sunday, Mother's Day, May 9, 2010, one of my best friends in the world, Linda DePaul, collapsed in her bathroom and died. She was 54 and in relatively good health. The autopsy did not find a cause of death. She was survived by her 3 children. A few weeks ago, I traveled to Iowa for her funeral.
When I first found out, I cried for four hours straight. I don't have adequate word to express how I feel, so I probably will not be successful in describing my love for my friend Linda.
I met Linda about 7 years ago. We both moved to Iowa about that same time. She was assigned through my church to fellowship me and we became instant friends. At the time she was a single working mom with teenage kids, and I was a married homemaker with toddlers. Yet, we had everything in common.
I love Linda so much. She was one of my closest friends in Des Moines. She was so beautiful, gentle and kind. She was intelligent and soft spoken and her life was filled with charity. Every waking hour she was serving someone. I was the recipient of much of her service. When I moved away I was so sad to leave her. She has some challenges in her family and I felt so bad that I could not be there for her. I called a few times, but not enough. I prayed for her often and always put her name on the temple prayer roll.
Linda's whole demeanor was filled with love. You couldn't know her and not love her. She took care of everyone, even if they didn't deserve it. If she ever saw me look tired at church, she would bring me a meal or volunteer to watch my kids. Once, I commented that she had nice perfume on. The next time I saw her, she had bought me bottle.
Linda taught my little son at church. He so looked forward to coming to church so he could spend a couple of hours each Sunday with her. With all of her heart, she loved all the children in her class, and they could feel it, and yearned to be around her.
Linda and I went on many walks while we talked about our joys and sorrows. We went on bike rides. I ran into her on my bike and she broke her wrist. She had to have surgery. I tried to bring her meal, but she said she didn't need one, and instead found a way to serve me instead. She was always selfless.
I have no doubt in my mind, that Linda passed her test here on earth. I hope to one day be as good as Linda. I regret not calling more often. I regret not being as good a friend as she was. But I hope that by the time we meet again, I will be more like her.
Here is the last email that I sent to Linda before she died. I sent it on March 8, 2010, but I'm not sure if she got it because Linda did not like email. Maybe she can read it now:
i haven't been very good at keeping in touch. but i want to know that i think about you all the time and that i love and miss you. when my husband and i pray together we just about always pray for you. we love you. when i go to the temple i always put your name on the prayers roll.
there are few people that have made such a deep impact on me as you have. you are one of the most wonderful women i have ever met. so dearly, dearly beloved by Heavenly Father and by me. every time i think about you i smile. just knowing you brings a spark of light and joy to my life. you are the best.
Moja Przyjaciolka Linda
Nie latwo mi jest przetlumaczyc to co napisalam po angielsku. Za trudno, bo za bardzo placze. Jedna z moich najblizszych przyjaciolek, umarla trzy tygodnie temu. Miala 54 lat i byla zdrowa. Upadla w lazience i juz sie nie obudzila. Autopcja nie stwierdzila powodu smierci. Troje dzieci pozostalo bez matki. A ja bez przyjaciolki. Jak sie o tym dowiedzialam to przez pierwsze 4 godziny non stop plakalam. Pojechalam do stanu Iowa na pogrzeb.
Linda byla bardzo piekna, inteligientna i kochajaca osoba. Codziennie komus pomagala. Jak ja jej sie wydawalam zmeczona to one mi przynosila obiad do domu i tez zajmowala sie moimi dziecmi. Raz jej powiedzialam ze jej perfumy bardzo ladnie pachna. Nastepnego razu jak sie zobaczylysmy to ona dala mi butelke tych perfum. Ona po prostu byla taka kochajaca przyjaciolka.
W kosciele ona uczyla mojego syna Samuela. On zawsze nie mogl sie doczekac isc do jej klasy. Ona wszytkie dzieci bardzo kochala i dzieci czuly jej milosc i zawsze chialy z nia spedzac czas.
Ja i Linda czesto chodzilysmy na spacery i razem rozmawialysmy o naszych zyciach. Tez jezdzilysmy na rowerach razem. Raz Linda spadla z roweru i zlamala sobie reke. Nawet wtedy ona probowala mi sluzyc i pomagac. Cale swoje zycie zyla aby innym pomagac.
Ja wiem ze Linda jest w niebie. Chce kiedys byc tak dobra osoba jak ona. Smutno mi ze czesciej z nia nie rozmawialam przez telefon po przeprowdce do stanu Georgia. Kilka razy zadzwonilam ale nie tak czesto. Mam nadzieje ze jak sie znowu w Linda spotkam w niebie, ze bede do niej bardziej podobna.
Tu ostatni email ktory wylalam do niej 8 Marca 2010. Nie wiem czy ten list otrzymala bo ona nie lubila spedzac czasu na komputerze. Moze teraz z nieba go przeczyta:
Przepraszam ze tak czesto sie nie odzywam. Ale chce ci powiedziec ze bardzo czesto o tobie mysle i ze ciebie kocham i za toba tesknie. Ja maz i ja sie razem modlimy, to czesto sie prosimy o blogoslawienstwa dla ciebie. Jak chodze do swiatyni to zawsze dodaje twoje imie do listy ludzi o ktorych sie modlimy.
Jest bardzo malo osob kotre miatly taki mocny wplyw na moje zycie jak ty. Jestes jedna z najlepszych kobiet na swiecie. Nasz Ojciec w Niebie ciebie tak bardzo kocha i ja tez ciebie bardzo kocham. Jak o tobie mysle to sie usmiecham. Twoja przyjazn przynosi swiatlo i szczescie do mojego zycia. Jestes najlepsza.