First Linda, then George, then Ginny. Now Cork has joined them, leaving only one.
| It's happened again.
I put a separate entry in my port when Linda's father, and my second father, George, passed away.
And I put another entry in when I found out his wife, Linda's mother Virginia had joined him.
Now, I have the heart wrenching task of adding another entry here, and this one is the hardest yet, other than dealing with Linda's own death.
Linda's closest friend and confidante, and the person whose enthusiastic, fun-loving teasing whenever she saw Linda and I acting even the least bit romantic throughout those early years only served to bring her even closer to both of us, and to make her the one person in our lives that we never wanted to live without, has finally gone home.
I found out early this afternoon that Linda's younger sister, Marcia, affectionately referred to within the family circle as Cork, had passed away last year, 2014, on Thanksgiving Day. I was too shocked by the news to think clearly enough to ask the reason that she passed, but I'm going to try to find out.
All through Linda's school years, until her Junior year in high school when we met, Cork was basically her only real friend. Back then, in the mid-1960s, not much was known about epilepsy. As a result, Linda's seizures had made her a virtual outcast by the other students. So, Cork became, most willingly, Linda's friend and confidante as well as Little Sister. And that extra bond only brought them closer to each other as time passed.
I need to make one thing clear before I continue. My parents and I never did agree where Linda's being a part of my life was concerned. So, since I had to move out and into a place of my own at 18 (legal age then was 21) for Linda and I to be able to be together, her parents basically became mine too. And I always felt far closer to her parents than to my own. Hence, the pieces here in my port about each of them. That said, I continue:
Typical teenagers, Linda and I reached the point where we couldn't stand saying goodbye every night and going our separate ways. After about a year, Linda and I decided to elope. We had settled on Friday, August 16, 1968, at the age of 19, to start our new life together. But we had one urgent, and, to us both, mandatory thing we had to take care of before we could embark on that new life. We had a lot of reassuring to do for Cork. We had, of course told Cork a few days earlier, but still, when that night came, it wasn't any easier for her. It had taken the 12-year-old barely any time at all to realize Linda wouldn't be there to talk to every night, for them to keep sharing stories and memories, dealing with homework, and enjoying all the rest of the activities they'd shared together, often just the two of them, but at times with the rest of the family, for so very many wonderful, fulfilling years. Still crying a river of tears at the realization, Cork gave me a bear hug. I kissed her forehead and said softly, yet with a determination I hoped would help boost her spirits and remind her that we weren't exactly leaving forever, "You're not getting rid of us that easily, girl!" She cracked a smile and I nudged her just a tad toward Linda, who stood not even a full foot away. Quietly, I went downstairs to wait. When Linda came down the stairs about a half hour later, she came up, put her arms around my neck, and said tenderly, "We're going to be over here pretty often after the wedding tonight. OK, honey?" I gave her a tender kiss, and I said, "Sweetheart, with the way you know I feel about this family of yours, especially Cork, I wouldn't want it any other way. They're my family now, too, you know." As we headed to the family room to say goodbye to her parents, Linda stopped, turned to me, and said, "Thanks, Jim. I knew you felt that way, but with what this was doing to Cork for a while there I just had to hear you say it."
We visited them at least every other week throughout our all-too-few years together, and it seemed like Linda and Cork were also always on the phone. And I loved seeing that those two didn't let the distance of even a mere quarter mile between our homes keep them apart.
There was only one other time in the years of her life when I was around that I ever saw Cork cry as hard, or as long, and with such deep sobs, as she did that night Linda and I eloped: Saturday morning, March 8, 1980, when the finality of Linda's death finally hit her (Linda had passed away the preceding Monday night, and the funeral had been the day before). Cork was 23 then.
And now, the family member that both Linda and I had felt the closest to, is with her, and their parents, once again. Only one member of that family remains: the oldest of the three sisters, Suzie. Suzie, you, and the rest of that wonderfully close knit, caring, loving family that so willingly helped this teenager so I could continue to be with Linda, will always be in my prayers. Always.