It was a week ago today that Linda died. You’d think this would have been the worst week of my life. Well you’d be wrong. It’s in the top three. The worst week was the week we found out she was dying.
That was bad enough but the stupid bastard doctor at the Western General decided to tell us the day she was diagnosed. When the inflammation on her brain was at its worst. When she had no short term memory and no idea where she was or what was happening. So she forgot. Then I had to tell her. By myself. Again and again until the medication reduced the inflammation enough so she remembered.
Then there was the last two weeks before she fell asleep. They’d done all they could with the medication but the cancer and inflammation had spread too far. The horrors that poor girl went through. The paranoia, the delusions, the terrible hallucinations. God, she suffered. And it was all my fault. I’d put her in this bad place where the doctors and nurses were experimenting on her. She hated me. I knew it was the cancer talking but if you’re one of the people opposed to euthanasia then spend a couple of weeks, 24 hours a day in the company of someone in the final stages of brain cancer and tell me how it wouldn’t have been a blessed relief for Linda.
The featured picture was her favourite picture of herself. Mainly because the sun was behind her and it stopped people seeing how ugly she was. And she believed that. Not in a fake affirmation, tell me I’m pretty way. She genuinely believed it. Something else to thank her witch of a mother for. She broke Linda. I spent 25 years trying to put the pieces back together but I failed. I actually made the chaplain at the hospice cry when I told her one story from Lindas childhood.
Her parents got divorced when Linda was 2. Now this was a long time ago but I think it shows her mother for who she was when I tell you that her father got custody of her two older brothers. Now this did not happen back then. Bear in mind he was living in a single end with his mother, father and brother. But the court probably thought a wee girl should be with her mother. How wrong.
The first thing her mother did was give her to her granny. Now Linda loved her granny but she was in a two bed-roomed council house with her bedridden husband and two grown up sons who were a wee bit thon way. No quite right. Davie managed to hold down a menial job but Wullie wasn’t fit to work. So her granny had her hands full. But she kept Linda until she was four and had started primary school before insisting that her mother look after her.
Now this is Lindas earliest memory. She didn’t know her mother that well but was all excited when she found out she was coming to see her. And then she turned up with new clothes! Linda had never had new clothes. And then there was a hurl on the bus! It was all too exciting. They ended up in Morningside, a foreign country. They went to a big house, bigger even than Lochend House. And her mother left her there without a backward glance. The Barnardos childrens home in Canaan Lane.
And her mother told no-one. She was living a few miles away so her granny never thought too much about it when she didn’t see Linda. A few months later her grown up cousin Billy was working on the roads in Morningside. He was walking past the primary school and who was standing there all alone but Linda. He asked her what had happened and she did her best to tell him. The next day her granny came and took her home.
My Lindy. You suffered your whole life.