My lovely, talented, and most wonderful wife of almost 30 years, sixty years of age, in perfect health, who took care of herself religiously, suddenly and completely unexpectedly suffered a massive stroke on a Thursday afternoon and died on Saturday morning at 11.33 a.m. It was a shock unbelievable in its intensity for me and also for her many friends in the community. It was so unbelievable that many refused to believe it without further confirmation. Even now I find it impossible to believe. It was so unfair, so unjust, so completely senseless, and obviously should have happened to me rather than to her.
Linda was during her lifetime a daughter, sister, wife, mother, and the anchor of our life together. She was also at times a dancer, sailor, waitress, bookstore manager, researcher, anthropologist, linguist, scholar, teacher, chef, political activist, environmentalist, blogger, and a gifted poet. In the words of Walt Whitman’s, “Song of Myself,” she was, in fact, a “multitude.”
In New Guinea, where houses are constructed around a central post that supports all the rest of the structure, the leader of the group is often described as the “House Post.” There is no doubt whatsoever that Linda was our House Post, and now that she is gone that house will begin to crumble, fall into disrepair, and eventually disappear.
As a girl, Linda attended a Lutheran school and was steeped in bible studies, and later, in college, she also studied the bible. As a mature woman and anthropologist she came to realize and appreciate the superficiality of organized religions and the unbelievable diversity of religious beliefs around the world. Even so, she maintained her own spirituality. She fought for what she believed in, championed the downtrodden, neglected, and handicapped, and was, as she herself admitted, a true, “Bleeding heart Liberal.” She was one of the very best of humanity, a joy to know, a rare credit to the human species. There are no words to describe the void her untimely departure has left, nor are there enough tears to express our sorrow. She was to have become a grandmother in one month’s time. It is true, of course, life is indeed cruel and unjust. Now we are left with only memories of better times. The journey to the west is bitter and difficult but continues relentlessly.