I am overwhelmed with emotion today (not something I am typically prone to sharing with others). But last night a beautiful bird passed from this world into the next. Her name was Lynda and I first met her when she was sixteen (and I was seventeen). We were high school sweethearts and she later became my wife and the mother of my son. I proposed to her when she was just seventeen and I was eighteen (much to the chagrin of our parents) and we got married two years later.
By the time we got engaged I was a young Marine about to head to Vietnam and I didn’t think it was fair to get married and maybe not return. She was disappointed but understood. While I was gone she wrote to me almost everyday but my writing was much more sporadic. I was undergoing profound changes that would haunt me for years—and those changes ultimately led to us parting ways after eight years of marriage. But not before she presented me with the greatest gift in my life, my son Shawn.
Lynda was born in Mexico City, the youngest of three children. Her first words were in Spanish and not English. Her ethnic roots were Latino and English, her father was Spanish/Mexican and her mother English. They met in San Diego during World War II when he was a wounded Marine in the hospital and she was a Navy nurse assigned to care for him. After the war ended they lived in Mexico City until their marriage foundered (for many of the same reasons our marriage would later fall apart). Lynda was about ten years old (I think) when she came to the United States.
You can see by her photo that she was a strikingly beautiful young lady. Blonde, blue-eyed and statuesque (she stood 5′ 11″ in her bare feet). She inherited her nordic looks from her father whose parents hailed from the north of Spain. Her English mother was actually a brunette. Lynda was a class act—always poised, reserved and beautiful. Beautiful inside and out and smart. I wish that I had returned from Vietnam as the man she deserved instead of the damaged goods she got. She deserved better.
My son flew up to Washington to be with her in her final days and kept me updated on her rapid decline. She had been ill for many years and finally decided against any further medical treatment. Once that decision was made the end came swiftly. Shawn reports that she passed peacefully with him at her side—he told her that she was loved (and she was) and that it was okay to move on. I am so grateful that she didn’t suffer and that her loving son was in attendance. I am still trying to wrap my head around the fact that I am still here and she isn’t. Rest in Peace my love. And thank you.