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The River Diaries

Wednesday, January 3, 2001

Goodbye, dear Linda.

This night Di and I went to a small funeral parlor in the theater district to sit with Linda, her physical body, and in the Buddhist way, to pray her fear away as she finds her way in a new world. She lay dressed in her Buddhist garments, roses on her chest, a small worn teddy bear leaning against her cheek, her hair shorn by the last round of chemotherapy, her face strong in death, her lips in a pale red, her eyebrows arching over her shut eyes. I had only met Linda once, just three months before her death, when she let herself be convinced to come to the book party for Donna Allegra. Tall and thin, her head wrapped in a blue turban, she looked like an actress from another time. I could see the pain in her, her struggle to keep going — I think those of us with cancer can speak its language, read its journey. Or the journey imposed on our bodies by prevalent medical treatments. We hugged and she spoke to me a little about how she used my work in her classes. “A high fem,” her lover Stacey had called her. Yes, in all her pain and fear, she was elegant. A young woman made timeless by this illness.


© 2001 Joan Nestle

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