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Remembering Auntie Linda

This is a guest post from my mother, Caren MacMurchy, who lost her husband (my gregarious, encouraging, exuberant—though some may say intense—Father) 13 years ago this week and lost her cousin, who was as close as a sister, four weeks ago. It is important to know while reading this tribute that my mother, a short, chatty thing who is usually heard before seen, wrote this about my tall, soft-spoken Aunt Linda, who I called Auntie.

Remembering Linda Jean Kleyn Cechura

25 February 2018

This week - February 26, 2018 - marks the 13th year that Robert A. MacMurchy has been up close and personal with the dear LORD Jesus. My long-suffering cousin, Linda Jean, joined Robert a few weeks ago on the Other Shore. January 27th, to be exact. I have to imagine that the catch-me-up stories are flowing like melting spring inlets. Conversation that sounds like playful water skipping from here to there. Memories cherished and brightly remembered. Is it true that only the things that grieve the dear LORD Jesus are forgotten? Somehow absorbed consumed? But the memories are stored. Is Linda telling her Great Green Globe stories? And is she breathlessly waiting to hear Robert’s celestial Other Shore stories? What a wonder.

Is Robert hearing for the first time about his five grandchildren? Or does he know Elissa and Aaron and Nathaniel, Morgan Jo, Isaiah Robert, Amelia Margaret, Samuel Michael and Baby Mabel Jean? I’ve wondered if Robert knows the stories unfolding day by day in our family? He does now! Linda is with him.

Linda opens a birthday gift with her cousins (Bob, Caren and Donald) looking on.

Speaking of blast-from-the-past memories, here’s a doozy! After Robert and I were first married —1978—Linda lived with us for four years. Before she had her own room, she was sleeping on the couch when much to her wondering eyes should appear - buck-naked Robert in perilous fear. He had no idea of his un-appareled condition. As she gasped and covered her eyes, Robert grabbed the nearest fig leaf. We laughed ourselves silly in the morning, but held the embarrassment with tender care, avoiding discussing it only on rare occasions.

A couple of years later—1980—Gabriel came. Our firstborn joined the family and Auntie Linda was delighted. As a wee lad, Gabe recalls romping with Linda’s giant golden retriever, Copper. Their hair matched. Copper’s golden and Linda’s strawberry-blonde mane. Linda, in many ways, was healed under our roof. We were family. Together we remembered our family roots. The four of us walked in the ancient paths, long-established by our grandparents and parents. My sister/cousin was home.

Gabriel told me recently of an Auntie memory when he was around 8 years old. Grandma Margaret and Gabe visited the Kleyn’s in California, where Linda was living happily tucked-in with her California family. Gabe saw Uncle Herb, Linda’s dad, give her a cortisone shot for back pain. That was 30 years ago. Was that the beginning of the pain?

The subsequent bi-annual surgeries overwhelmed me just hearing about them. I could never imagine the steadfast endurance Linda majestically manifested through thick and through thin. I say "majestically" because she was like a starlet; a bedrock beauty floating through the roller coaster ride of delights and dismays. She always said, "After surgery, I’m going to do" this or that. She always had plans for self-improvement beyond the surgery. Hopeful optimistic and courageous. I always marveled at her ebullient endurance. Never did I hear her despair. Linda was brave. Sometimes when we’d talk from four states away—South Dakota to Michigan—her tired voice would betray the heavy burden. But, faster than a lightening streak, we were cackling. How my cousin loved to laugh! And it only took a sliver of a memory to set her off.

Growing up, we spent our childhood outdoors. In the pool, on our bikes at Royal Oaks School ripping through the outside corridors with abandon. Linda’s lean and lithe body was front and center in all her activities. Throwing pottery, creating stained glass pieces, cheerleading, tennis, swimming and all manner of athletic endeavors. She was a blooming jock! And a beauty, to boot.

But she was shy, perfectly happy to stand in the back of the family photo. That’s the prerogative of the tall and lean. They stand in the back. The short—but sincere—stand front and center. Both spots fit our personalities.

Linda was frightened when my daddy died. We were both 12 or so and she did not want to go into the church to see her Uncle Crawford’s open casket. I think it scared her. Or it was too sad, so I stayed on the church steps with her for awhile. Another time - years later - we stood together at the open casket of our beloved grandmother, Maude Mae Cottrell Brown. We were

grown then. We knew where Grandma was. All is Well.

These are a few of my Linda stories, the ones that stand out like dazzling stars in the night sky. It’s staggering to think that Robert and Linda have their own conversation going. What-have-I-missed stories on both sides. When we all see Jesus, what a day of rejoicing that will be. I’m glad Robert and Linda started early. Unwrapping the memories like the endless packages under the Kleyn Christmas tree.

Their Glad Reunion was surely sooner than we globe-dwellers would have liked. But we all know, All is Well.

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