My Mothers best friend died from Leukemia when she was 17 years old. When I was born my Mother named me after her friend. Very close to the same time the best friends brother got married and had a daughter. His daughter was given his sisters name as her middle name. Are you lost yet? Her first name was Lynda. So, Lynda and I were named after the same person. And my first name was Lynda's middle name.
I am told we played together as toddlers but neither of us recalled meeting until High School. When we found out about each other and that we were living close to each other in Southern California, we made a point to meet right away. We were instant best friends. It was the most natural thing in the world.
We spent the next four years trying to get through High School while we got into all kinds of mischief together. We learned a lot about life. We learned that cheap wine is not your friend. We both married our school sweethearts and moved to different parts of the country. She became a Military wife and I became a Mother. We both ended up with a boy and a girl, and both of our girls were born with a crooked foot. My daughter wore a special shoe for her first year and Lynda's daughter had to have surgery on her foot.
We both suffered traumatic divorces. Hers more terrible than mine. And we both remarried eventually.
Then she got cancer.
The last time I spoke to her was 2005 I think. She was living in Las Vegas with her husband and seemed to be well cared for. Her cancer had just travelled to one of her eyes and she had gone through a very painful surgery. The next time I called her I was told they were divorced. Her husband said that Lynda just "up and left" one day. He sounded so terribly sad.
I knew she went to Utah, but was never able to find her. No one in her family was on Facebook or listed in any web searches I tried.
On Christmas Eve my Mother got a phone call from Lynda's Mom. She wanted my Mom to let me know that Lynda had died. I can't tell you how bad I felt. The loss. For me and for her family and loved ones. For the rest of the world - she was a gift. She was part of me.