A death in Mom’s Family

Life is so strange.

I received a phone call yesterday to tell me that a cousin has passed away – Linda Mellard. Linda was just about a year or so older than I am. I don’t know why she died, although she became ill and refused medical help according to what her brother-in-law told me. Linda had a strange kind of life, well, strange to me anyway.

Linda was the daughter of Gene and Madeline Mellard. Her older sister “Bookie” passed away a few years ago. Linda married in her twenties – I think – she married a man much older than she was. The gentleman had grown children when they married. I am guessing he was a widower.

She and her husband had no children; he passed away some years ago. Linda worked for an upscale clothing store in Charleston, SC. She was a successful buyer for the store and had quite a few wealthy clients. Linda never went to college, as far as I know.

When I spoke to Tugar, her brother-in-law, he would tell me that she didn’t eat right, often scrimping on food either because she didn’t like to cook or was trying to save her money. I would guess that she was quite well off, having received a sizable inheritance from her parents. From what Tugar told me, it sounded as though she had become a kind of recluse. That surprised me – the way that she lived.

When we were younger and visited her family in Charleston, I was always a little envious of her. She seemed a perfect lady. She spoke quietly and sat calmly on the porch on summer days when my sisters and I were running up and down the street playing cowboys or some such thing.

Her skin was pale and flawless with pretty blonde hair as well. Quite different from my sisters and I who had inherited my dad’s Italian coloring.

I prayed for her last evening when I heard the news. Tugar said that Linda didn’t want any church service, as she had not been to church in years. She didn’t want any mention in the newspaper either. She was cremated just as her husband was. She had kept his ashes in her living room – Tugar was curious what he would do with both of them.

To me it seemed a sad and lonely life. I had not seen Linda in more than 50 years, so I don’t know if she was happy with the choices she had made. I don’t know if she had any hobbies or if she did any volunteer work in her community. That she didn’t want anyone to know that she had passed makes me think that she didn’t have many friends or close acquaintances who would care about her. Not the picture of that lovely young woman I had known so many years before.

May God bless her and take her home.