I initially met Linda approximately three years ago - in a public restroom. Linda appeared to be tough, abrasive and capable of spewing an abundance of obscenities. Through the passage of time and through talking with Linda on a daily basis, the façade gradually melted. Linda was temporarily homeless and she was "a force to be dealt with" - a bundle of energy. Her assertiveness was camouflaged with aggression.
Gradually Linda's facade began to change, and I was able to see beneath the surface. I discovered a warm, intelligent, generous, bubbly individual with a great sense of humor. Linda remained on the streets for a few months. She developed a genuine sense of caring for the other homeless, and she was consistently concerned about their plight. She had the wonderful ability to take a serious situation and to find humor in it.
Eventually Linda began to complain of pain, and she was transported to the hospital. On more than one occasion unfortunately, she was misdiagnosed as having minor gastrointestinal problems. Linda returned home and subsequent to a second opinion, she was diagnosed with third stage ovarian cancer.
I spoke with Linda on the phone a few times, and she never complained about her illness. Instead, she expressed deep concern about the homeless individuals "still out there." During a remission, Linda visited the homeless individuals and gave money. Also she invited a few homeless individuals to stay at her home because she was worried about their survival in the cold weather.
Linda expressed gratitude for the loving support of her family; particularly her mother and sister in North Bergen and her extended family as well. During a remission they took her on a cruise which made here very happy and intensely aware of the loving bond that she and her family shared.
Linda passed in April '03. Linda had many friends in Hoboken who are deeply saddened by our loss. Those of us who have recently learned of her passing are just beginning to experience the shock and pain of losing such a bubbly, bright and caring young woman. Linda passed with the knowledge that her family dearly loved her. I extend my deepest condolences to Linda's family; especially her mother and sister. God Bless Linda's family.