Saturday, July 4, 2015

She is Sorely Missed

Linda Ruth Van-Hook Briganti, LMHC
October 22, 1949 – February 03, 2014

Linda met her husband Vincent on June 26th 1982 in Calimesa California and were married one year later on June 26th 1983 in Boca Raton Florida.

Linda and Vincent went on to have two wonderful young sons, Vincent Jr. and Nicholas.
Linda was initially diagnosed with “Triple Negative” breast cancer in 2005 and, after treatment at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tacoma Washington, was cancer free for nine years.  Linda hadn’t been feeling well and returned to hospital in Olympia on January 31, 2014 for further testing and passed away on February 03, 2014.

Linda and Vincent had purchased and remodeled a home in Pensacola Florida in anticipation of retiring there.  Vincent, as it happens, was in Pensacola and was expecting Linda to join him there for a vacation when he received a call from his son Nicholas to tell him Linda was very ill and to come home right away. 

Linda, true to form (at least from my experience of her), had asked her son not to call Vincent and interrupt his work in Pensacola, or worry him unnecessarily until they knew whether this hospital admission was serious.   Vincent flew home late Saturday night, and spent her remaining time with her until she passed away early Monday afternoon. 

Linda dedicated much of her life to working with folks both professionally as a therapist, and privately; supporting her church groups, youth groups, her family and uncounted numbers of clients who sought her help for any number of issues.  Linda was well known and respected in the Olympia area for her work with and contributions to men, women and families struggling with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

I began to see Linda to work out issues secondary to my breast cancer and mastectomy and the unbelievable emotional turmoil that my wife and I had undergone behind my illness and recovery.  I was grieving over my losses at the time and as confused as I had ever been.    Through many difficult sessions, Linda helped me come to terms with changes in my body, my sexuality and my relationships.  My relationship with myself may have been the relationship which was most severely strained and in peril. 

I owe so much to this woman and I miss her.  I know my sentiment is shared by many folks in the area who knew her, every one of us benefitting from having spent any amount of time in her presence.  She is survived by her mother, her husband Vincent and their two sons and she is sorely missed by everyone who knew her.

Not entirely certain that it will mean as much to you as it means to me but when I read Oriah’s “The Invitation” I am reminded of Linda and the work we did together.

It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it, or fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty every day. And if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, 'Yes.'

It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn't interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

By Oriah Mountain Dreamer from her book, THE INVITATION (c) 1999. Published by HarperONE, San Francisco. All rights reserved. Presented with permission of the author.

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