In Memory of a Friend

Linda Gilson was a remarkable woman. She was tough and strong. And feisty. So feisty, in fact, that I never truly believed that cancer could conquer her. And it may not have defeated her spirit, but it claimed her life on Tuesday, October 28. She was 75.

I met Linda about 30 years ago. She co-founded the Northwest Ambulance Service of which I was one of the first EMTs. We worked together and took calls together. And we laughed together. Besides being one tough cookie, Linda was also a lot of fun.

After I left the ambulance service, I would occasionally run into Linda around town. It was always like we’d only seen each other five minutes ago instead of a couple years.

I learned of her cancer not all that long ago. Sadly, we’d been out of touch. I did run into her a couple months ago at the local pharmacy. She looked thin and tired, showing the effects of the cancer and her battle against it. But she had a quick smile and that spark of determination in her eyes. I had no doubt that she would beat the monster.

She did not.

Yesterday, I attended her memorial service. The church was packed. Fire trucks lined the street in front. Besides being an EMT, Linda was also the first female member of the Burgettstown Volunteer Fire Department. Local fire fighters in full dress uniform filled several rows of the church pews. I recognized a few of them from my days in the EMS. Older. Grayer.

Sadder for having lost a friend.

Linda Gilson was one of my role models…one of my life teachers. She showed me that I could do anything if I worked hard enough. She taught me something about being a friend. And she taught me to never give up.


Sara said…
Really nice post, Annette. Sorry to hear about your friend.
Kathleen said…
You wrote a lovely tribute to your friend. I am so sorry for your loss.
Anonymous said…
She is (was) my aunt! I'm happy to hear you feel the same way about her as I did.

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