Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Lynda Young Tuckett

About ten years ago, my baby sister--Lynda Young Tuckett--was diagnosed with breast cancer. She underwent a masectomy and treatment for the cancer, and she recovered and continued to be the delightful presence in our lives that she had been since her birth in 1962.

A couple of years ago, the cancer returned, this time in her bones (and I'm not sure where else). Again, she received treatment, much of it painful. She continued to work part time--much loved by the children and colleagues she worked with. She was a devoted mother and wife. Her husband, Joe Tuckett, had to change jobs a couple of times (partly because he's too good a person to let himself descend to the depths required for survival at a certain used car dealership in Provo--and having looked at cars there, I'm speaking from experience). He ended up with a job at the same place our son-in-law, Noah Lifferth, works. Joe and Lynda's oldest child, Steven, was on a mission in Canada when his mother's cancer returned. We are grateful he not only finished his mission and returned to see his mother but had over a year with her after his return. The other two children are daughters: Angeline (22 years old) and Aubriana (who recently turned 17). Lynda was also a devoted daughter. She and her family often visited my parents in Provo, sometimes when Lynda came here for treatments.

We have good memories of family events with the Tucketts, especially Thanksgivings at their home in Payson. We occasionally had a joint home evening with them and my parents. But we didn't spend as much time with them as I wish we had. On a Saturday in March, we had a family get together that had been delayed since December. We all met (my parents and many of their children and grandchildren) at Golden Corrall in Orem for lunch. Lynda, though still beautiful, looked distinctly worse than I had remembered. She had a hard time eating. But she had the same positive, friendly attitude she normally had. We are grateful we were able to spend that time with her and that our children were there too.

April 5 and 6 were the days of General Conference, and Margaret and I enjoyed listening to the sessions. I remember peaceful, spiritual feelings from those days. But we also heard from my parents, Saturday night, I think, that Lynda's doctor had bad news. She had had tests over the preceding week--tests she'd been worried about--and indeed the results were bad. The doctor said she had weeks and perhaps only days to live.

Margaret and I didn't want to complicate things for the Tucketts at such a difficult time, but we felt strongly that we wanted to visit, needed to visit. And though we had thought of delaying a couple of days, we felt some urgency and decided to see if we could come on Sunday. We brought my parents with us to Payson and found Lynda sitting in her living room, clearly struggling very, very badly. We sat with her and visited with each other and the Tucketts. I spent a few minutes kneeling at her side, holding her hand, and talking with her. I asked her how she was feeling, if she was in pain. It took her a moment to respond--her physical state and morphine, I believe, were slowing down her response time. She said, if I remember, "No, not pain, but . . ." I filled in, "Just kind of yucky?" A pause. "Yes." I told her I loved her. She responded, slowly, with some effort, "I love you."

The next morning we got the news that she had died. I had hoped for a few more days at least. But at least we had seen her again and been able to exchange those words that reaffirmed our connection. Lynda had died in her husband's arms. They were on a bed together, and she had started to slip off, so he had taken her in his arms to keep her steady, and she died--the morning of April 7, 2008.

Family and friends gathered, of course, for the viewings and funeral. My brother Larry gave a magnificent talk at the funeral that I will link here as soon as he sends me an electronic copy. The funeral went on just a bit too long after his talk--but I was very tired, and the extended time gave me a chance to rest. I offered the family prayer at the end of the viewing that preceded the funeral. As we said our farewells before the closing of the casket, my father seemed devastated--this was the second time he had to be parted from a daughter in this way, and he had a special bond with those daughters. (In May of 1997, my sister Nancy died of complications resulting from M.S. Like Lynda, she died at age 45.) My mother seemed stoic, though as we later learned, Lynda's death must have had a much stronger impact on her than was visible. I broke down during those last moments before the funeral. I remember sobbing as my father and I and a sibling or two held tightly onto each other.

We have marvelled at Lynda's husband Joe. Not only did he remain devoted and loving to the end--showing her constant and immovable love--but he was positive and full of faith, confident that their separation would be temporary. We know the separation must be hard and may get harder. But even now, over three months later, we continue to be impressed by his strength, faith, and cheerful good will. When Lynda died, it appeared he wanted to do anything he could to honor her and celebrate her life. Among other things, he wrote a heartfelt obituary--which I got to help a bit with as a technical editor. I felt my main job, in a way, was to make sure I didn't get in the way of the pure emotions of love and respect he wanted to express. You can--and actually you ought to--read the obituary by clicking either here (for text only in Word), here (for a JPEG version), or here (for a Word document version).

I hope others who knew Lynda will add memories and comments here--filling in details I've neglected or adding your thoughts about Lynda. (Margaret has already written two posts about Lynda, found here and here.)


mjby said...

Beautiful. Thank you.

Garry Wilmore said...

I didn't know her, but I read this tribute and was deeply moved by it. As soon as I leave this comment, I am going to read the obituary as well.

On another note, it is nice to have you back, and I will be visiting your blog more frequently now that I know you are posting to it again.

Bruce Young said...

Thanks, Garry. I'm in England at the moment--I'll post about that too at some point. For now I'm still trying to catch up on the past few months. Shortly I'll be posting about finishing my book and soon after about my mother's death.

I'm glad our blogs help us keep in touch. I hope you're doing well.

Nicole said...

lynda was a super sweet lady she would always be willing to help me and my family when my mom was pregnant with me she would always bring dinner over to help her out, she was just always so helpful and sweet, and she wouldn't just bring over food that took 5 minutes long to make but she put real thought into it and she would make like turkey dinners with mashed potatoes and stuff like that to my mom. i can't think of any other lady who has done that for my family. she was a joy to be around and we definitely miss her!