Linda O

Linda O'Connor

For me this picture sums up Linda wonderfully. It was taken in August 1999 on a beach in Ireland when she was there with her good friends Sally and Julie. At that time she had been diagnosed with a brain tumour, told that the average life expectancy was five years and suffering from frequent seizures despite being on medication. Yet all you see is someone embracing life fully.
Linda's Tribute

Monday the 12th June 2006 was the last day Linda was fully well and at home and that was exactly, to the day, 35 years since we had first met on the evening of 12th June 1971. We had always, between ourselves, remembered that date as the important anniversary in our lives.

We met at a disco in the Merrion Centre where Linda had seen me the previous week, when I had been with someone else, I was stood up by my date that night and I was heading for the bar when Linda put out her foot and tripped me, followed me to the bar and we got talking. Linda always maintained that she knew from the start we were going to be married.

I think that last Monday at home illustrates Linda’s attitude to her illness, I had called the district nurse in as Linda seemed to be deteriorating and the aim was for her to do an assessment for the level of care she would need.

At one point she went to the loo and her sister Sue was helping her walk back to the room. When she got to the door she asked if the nurse was still there, she was and she then told Sue to let go of her arm and walked back by herself to her chair.

Linda loved life with a passion and even when our family life became tough and difficult during the early part of the 1990’s, due to my suicidal depression, she never wavered or gave up hope, she just got on with the business of being alive and looking after our children.

What Linda missed most in her life after her diagnosis was the fact that she wasn’t allowed to drive and that she had to give up her aerobics classes.

A feature of our consultations with the oncologists was that I would say Linda had fallen or was unsteady on her feet, she would give me one of her dirty looks and proceed to tell the consultant that the problem was her shoes were too slippy or that the floor wasn’t level. I cannot recall on any occasion in public did she ever blame her brain tumour for the problems she had.

Eight years is a long time to battle with an illness and I want to pay tribute and give thanks to those who helped both me and Linda to cope with the impact it had on our lives.

Linda’s sister Sue and her family provided constant love, support and opportunities for me to have breaks from my caring role. Her good friend Yvonne and her drinking pals Sally and Julie enabled Linda to have a wonderful quality of life right to the end. All the medical staff at Cookridge hospital, BTRS the Yorkshire brain tumour charity and all the staff at St Gemma’s Hospice who ensured that the last nine days of Linda’s life were as peaceful and comfortable as they could be and provided a wonderful setting for family and friends to say goodbye.

Visit Linda's fundraising page to see just how this family have turned their experience into a positive one for others.

Written by Liam O'Connor, Linda’s husband
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