Saturday, March 17, 2018

Honor and Grief

Honor and Grief

Linda playing with chalk on her porch

“The Most You Can Do For Me Is To Be A Village And Help Each Other. Love You All” 
~Linda Sousa

Grief, I am learning, is a powerful force.  Grief is a force, for me, that interweaves, with perhaps the most powerful force there is; love.  I am told that grieving is a natural part of life, not something that needs to be fixed, but rather something that one must endure.  I can understand, and have felt myself, how grieving can be a hard but “natural” part of life.  However, losing your best friend at 44 years old after watching her suffer emotionally and physically in front of her family, especially her husband, parents, and young children, does not feel natural. Losing Linda is a devastating life altering loss for those that love her most.  Somehow through the heartache, we must find ways to persevere, help one another, give, find happiness, and live, because that is what Linda hoped and prayed for. 

Grief is different for everyone.  There are many wonderful ways that Linda’s friends and family are channeling their grief, including;  wearing anchor pins and MBC ribbons, planting gardens, running fundraisers, lighting candles, spreading painted kindness rocks around town, having masses in Linda’s honor, leaping, praying…and many more. All of these gestures, and countless more, are done out of loss for someone who loved passionately.  Linda took in the joy and sorrow of the world around her.  She had a huge heart that owned the hurts of those she loved and was greatly affected by the tragedies and sadness of strangers.

Linda's handwriting on a chalkboard in her basement

Inspired as a very little girl by the handicapped students in her elementary school, Linda knew at a young age that she wanted to be a special educator.  Linda was always looking for ways to give and help others. Thoughtfulness was organic to her, it was a big part of who she was.  It was how Linda was made, how she was hard wired.

“There Isn’t Anything So Bad That Nothing Good Can’t Come From It”
~ Linda quoting her Memere

This quote is a tough one for me lately, but I am working on it. I guess I cannot expect the good to ever match the heartache of living without Linda. However, through the devastating loss of Linda, good things are happening.   Since there is nothing we can do to change the past, we must choose to move forward and make the most of this life we have been given.
Out of our love and grief, in honor of our Linda;  Victor, Linda’s parents, and I have created a nonprofit, charity organization.                   
The Linda Sousa A Better Dream Foundation will:  Honor Linda’s love for education by annually awarding scholarships to area high schools seniors; Help to spread awareness and raise funds for Metastatic Breast Cancer Research because Linda had become passionate about the needs of the women (and men) dying from the disease and the others yet to be diagnosed;  Inspire and encourage others to spread kindness and live life to the fullest, as Linda did.

These are the current goals of the foundation.  This May, The Linda Sousa A Better Dream Foundation will award 4 scholarships to students from Attleboro High School and Dighton-Rehoboth High School.  There are MBC awareness events planned for this spring and funds from the foundation are already allocated for research. Victor, Ron, Jan, and I are hoping that with the help of those touched by Linda’s journey and the community we are able to continue to make a difference in memory of our Sweet Linda.