My world wobbled on its axis last Thursday. I knew. I looked at the phone and saw that it was my husband calling. Not texting. Calling.  I sat in my office, looking at the phone ringing in my hand and knew. He would only call if it were bad.

He had gone to check on my sister, Linda.

On March 13, 2014, the world lost a fierce warrior and a beautiful spirit with the death of Linda Vasseur. Linda was a hero to me. She taught me a lot through my life- how to laugh fully from my belly and with no worry.

How to love with a wide open heart free of judgment.

That no matter how far down you think you are, there is always someone you can reach back to help.

And she taught me that life isn’t fair- but that you need to get up and move forward anyway.

I used to feel like my family had been gambling on borrowed time. When you have ten kids everything is increased-joy, love and risk.  Our hand was called.

On Feb. 2, 1991, A senseless accident left my sister bleeding on the side of Rt. 41 with a ruptured aorta. Linda died in the helicopter. Linda died on the table. Linda died in her room. Never one to give up easily, Linda came back swinging each time. She went on to give us the gift of 23 years of joy and love.

The accident left her confined to a wheel chair challenging her to defy the odds that always seemed stacked against her.

She was 31 years old. I can’t even imagine.

Truth be told, it didn’t even slow her down. She lived independently. She learned to drive with hand controls. She held a job. She rescued animals. She held fantastic parties to raise funds for causes for those who needed an advocate to fight for them.  She helped everyone she knew in every way she could.

And she danced.  And she danced. And she danced.

It is a rich soundtrack that plays when I think of Linda. She introduced me to some of the most important music of my life; Jackson Browne, Neil Young, Melissa Etheridge, Bonnie Raitt, Johnny Lang, Eric Clapton….  Songs with Lyrics that to this day make me stop and listen- with all my heart.  Life lessons woven in a blues chord.

Linda LOVED music.  Among her things we found stacks of concert tickets and Ravina season schedules.  Linda  would say- “Come with me- we’ll get great seats… or seat, I bring my own.”

No matter that challenges she woke each day with a song in her heart and a smile on her face.

Lindas smile

She felt each day was a blessing- truly, truly lived each day as if it were a gift- because to her, it was.  Tonight, I sit on the eve of the full moon and raise a toast. To Linda.  I love you. I miss you. My heart aches and I can’t breath …

But then I see you, head bobbing, Cell phone high, singing on your way to heaven.

Say Hi to dad for me.  I will always love you.