GRIPPING • POWERFUL • TRAGIC • COURAGEOUS
As the mother of four children, Linda's heart-wrenching story began with a god-forsaken premonition on the eve of the summer solstice. The next day, June 22, 2004, the longest day of the year, her youngest son, 10-year-old Sam, was crushed beneath the wheels of a trailer hauling a 5-ton tractor. The tragic family accident shattered Linda's world, but not her courage. Vowing to honor his life, Linda fulfilled Sam's dream of someday riding across the country on a horse.
Lightning Strikes Twice
Eight months after Sam's death, Linda began her healing journey by riding 4032 miles across America, alone, on horseback. Dubbed "The Promise Keeper" by the Navajos, Linda honored her youngest son's dream and memory.
Seven months later, as she crossed into her home state of Maryland approaching the "finish line," her eldest son Eric greeted her with a silver bracelet etched with the words "Expect Miracles." It was to be the last gift Linda ever received from her eldest son. Four hundred and twenty-one days later, Linda lost her second son,18-year-old Eric, to tragic circumstances.
Unbelievably, lightning struck twice. Two sons were gone. A mother's world was ripped apart.
A Woman of Valor
Taken down by grief, somehow Linda rose, painstakingly picking up the pieces of her shattered life, emerging with wisdom, compassion and grace—indeed becoming a Woman of Valor, inspiring others with her message and will to survive.
"I've given up, but never quit.
I've moved forward, by taking action and growing.
Every second. Every minute. Every hour. Every day.
Little by little, with every step, progress was made.
And when I look over my shoulder and see all endured,
I shake my head in disbelief,
'How did I get through that? How did I?'
It still amazes me.
When I look forward, I have hope, that the strength I've gained, that the woman I've become, will inspire just one person to take just one step along their own journey. Taking them from pain and despair to hope—an unbelievable hope and focused faith in self and more— and moving them to a different place, no, to a better place and time."
December 5, 2007
If one looks at the strength, compassion, forgiveness and healing you wrested from not one, but two devastating deaths…it’s the same remarkable ability to succeed the worst of situations (I use the word ‘succeed’ here in the old regal sense, as a monarch succeeding to the throne after another) you succeeded the worst of situations with grace, belief, dignity, generosity…hope. Beautiful, stunning words.
Finally, if you give credence to the karmic belief that we choose our life, that we have purpose available to us from birth…consider the repetition, the stunning amount of pain and tragedy you choosing to transmute things that are privately devastating into something publicly offered for the healing of others…
Linda, one has only to consider that you have been given not one, not two, but three ….opportunities. No, that is too happy a word for any of them….Situations, too cold. You have been given three elective courses in which you have learned, struggled, picked a path, moment by moment, from terrible tragedy to a state of compassionate, celebrant grace, to realize that your chosen purpose includes personal understanding that such transmutation is possible, and sharing it with others…so that that beauty can spread outward, killing hate, destroying revenge and bitterness, forgiving death its pain…creating beauty and love where only hurt once existed.
We talked about what if our work changed and touched just one life. What if the one quiet, unknown life your work touches is another young Adolph, living in pain and learning to hate from it? The pain of six million tortured Jews were funneled, by the grace of the Jewish people working corporately and individually, into compassion, forgiveness, and a commitment to work towards no one else suffering that way again.
Your life is a similar funnel. Your private cornucopia of pain is being funneled the same way by your spirit, into compassion, forgiveness, and a commitment to work towards relieving the suffering of others.
I am humbled by the person you will be in your next life, because you have worked so hard and so well at your purpose in this one. Do not give up and do not succumb to fear or doubt. God only knows the lives you had to live before to prepare your spirit to be strong enough to face this one.
The world needs you to teach us what you have learned. Write it down as best you can, with trust that you will do it right, so that the lessons and the learning are there for people to learn when you and I are long gone and sleeping in the earth.