Monday, May 17, 2010

Lynn Luckey - A Tribute to Spirit

Though she bore the name, I believe the rest of us are the ones who are luckey to have known her.  Here's to Lynn, a woman of strength and stamina.

I think the rest of the world moved too slow for Lynn.  While we muddle along in this one life we're given, I think she ran circles around us and lived twice!  Maybe that's why she was ready to move on before the rest of us?  Of course, I don't believe she was any more ready to move on than her world was ready to let her go, but it's one of the thoughts that comes at a time like this when one tries to make sense of another's passing.

It seems supremely unfair.  I was there for round one with breast cancer.  It seemed like it had been beat.  I admired her courage and tenacity.  Women like Lynn are the ones with fighting spirit who find a way to conquer everything ... including cancer.  So when I recently heard of her new battle, I wanted to believe she would beat it again even though things looked grim.  I wanted to believe for her sake ... for the sake of her husband and son ... for the sake of their business and the people in it ... for the sake of her friends and family.  This kind of loss is never fair, for it removes a life before the years seem to balance the passing.

As the tears come, it's hard to know what to share first. Even though our paths crossed for only a few short years, so many stories have brought laughter ... but it's more difficult to laugh when one's heart is hurting. 

I am indebted to Lynn for two things.  First, for taking a chance on me when I faced my most difficult life situation.  And second, for coining the word, "Disgusta!" 

But I need to rewind the clock a little more to share its meaning.  I had started working for Lloyd and Lynn when they needed a graphic designer part time.  I was coming from the nonprofit world and ready to simply help.  Initially, I was entertaining three job offers and chose one in the nonprofit world that would begin the next month, but I wanted to help them in the meantime.  That's when Lloyd, Lynn and SDS entered my heart.  I honestly didn't want to leave them, but had already committed to another job.  I decided I would truly use my initial time at the other job to evaluate if it was a good fit compared to SDS - fully expecting to return to them.  Miraculously, I got a call from the nonprofit profuse with apologies ... the position I was to take that had resulted from a termination had been reviewed by the Board of that nonprofit who felt like she deserved another chance.  No position?  No problem!  And thus I happily began helping the Luckey family at Southland Distribution and Sales.

They weren't sure they had enough for me to do as a graphic designer, and of course I was willing to help with whatever was needed, but little did they know that they were hiring someone with ideas who would generate ways to connect and expand.  We grew.  I loved it even at that point.  It was the one place in my life that I truly held as "mine."  That's an even longer story that I won't go into!

It wasn't long before my life had a crisis ... as the situation unfolded and skeletons in the closet were unearthed, I found myself suddenly facing life as a single mother with some extreme circumstances to weather.  That's where Lloyd and Lynn took a chance on me.  Even though the small company was growing, it's always difficult financially to bring an employee from part time to full time with benefits.  But they did ... and beyond.  They accomodated my daunting schedule as I transitioned my children into our new life, prepared and sold a house, met with lawyers and counselors, and started to get my feet on the ground while getting a grasp on my own tragic reality.  Lynn was there as I voiced my complaints about life, but also there as an example of how one can conquer anything if you'll just keep moving.

And keep moving I did ... literally!  Though the time I spent there was measured in years, it seems so quick to look back on it now.  I had no desire to stay in the city of my heartache, but I didn't want to run away or cause even more change for my children until I felt like my feet were back on the ground and I could make a move without depending on others.  SDS helped me do that.  They were the big bright spot that shined light into my dark days.  At times they felt like the ONLY bright spot!

I know I'm going on and on ... and I know no one may ever read this (or at least this far!) ... but I guess it's important for me to express the significant role SDS and Lynn and Lloyd played in my life.  I can't express how vital those days were to me, or how difficult.  They had to put up with some unpredictable things.  And I had to make some difficult decisions.  And the decision to move was the most difficult of all.  But the one thing that trumped a career (for me) had come into the picture ... love.

And this is another debt I owe ... but not to Lynn directly, this one I owe to Lloyd!  In preparing our second article for a trade magazine (by this time I had worked myself into a more broad marketing capacity), we didn't meet the deadline.  I kept trying to write and rewrite but it just wasn't what Lloyd wanted to say.  So week after week, I was calling the editor to apologize, and he was gracious every time.  That's how I got to know the man who revived my heart!  Fourteen months later, the article was finally done.  And I had made a friend who became my best friend ... and then my love, "Mr. Editor."

So, in 2006, I did finally move away from what Lynn referred to in her going away card as "Disgusta," Georgia.  Though I deeply LOVE everyone at SDS and a few others who supported me through hard times, I have to admit that "Disgusta" has been a well-used word that has brought laughter with it.  I wish I had thought of that word!

But this has turned into a post about me.  It's so easy to talk about what happened to me in light of Lynn's presence in it.  Forgive me.  I wish I could say I attacked life like Lynn did.  I was slower in my thoughts and actions than she was (faster than Lloyd, but slower than her)!  She and Lloyd had such different approaches, and I think that's what made things work ... they balanced each other out. 

Lynn is truly a force to be reconed with.  When she is ready to move, she is ready to MOVE.  And I mean that in every sense of the word.  I'll never forget coming to the office one Monday morning to find that most everything had been packed up except computers and phones.  We (SDS) had been planning a move, and it had been taking longer than anticipated.  Determined to do what she could to help the process along, she spent the weekend packing.  Of course, nothing is ever that easy.  It was at least a week, maybe two, before we actually moved to our new office and warehouse.  Tammy, Melinda and I were probably nearly unpacked again before we moved.  Every phone call or request seemed to have us digging through the unlabeled boxes to find what we needed.

I'm trying to remember what prompted the spa/makeover day ... but I think it's the only time I've experienced such an endeavor in an office environment!  Lynn brought in her beauty supplies and went to town on us ... cremes, lotions, makeup, and even the hot wax for our hands.  I guess we needed some sprucing up! 

My daughter still talks about Lynn ... especially when she had her Mustang convertible!  I recently had cause to go car shopping, and THAT is what little Miss M wanted.  I don't know if Miss M remembers going shopping with "Miss Lynn" but I certainly do.  They had an outing with Lynn's niece that involved shopping (which is also near and dear to my daughter's heart), and though it was not an earth-shattering moment in the course of history, I wanted to cry inside (and probably did at home later) knowing that someone did something special for my daughter when I couldn't.

Lynn could be tough.  I remember her being the one to call a spade a spade and "get into it" with people when push came to shove!  But it wasn't a toughness from a selfish point ... she was always very realistic and it just plain made sense.  And just as tough as she could be, she was generous.  She shouldered a cause and took it on.  Whatever it took to make it happen, she would see to it that it did. 

I have photos of our sons together on Halloween and memories of driving around the neighborhood in a golf cart while the kids ran door to door.  Somehow she knew things like that would be important for my kids and gave me an opportunity to make it happen. 

Lynn, I know I have been away for a few years, and I am so sad to know that I won't be seeing you on this side of life ... but you have made a difference in my life, and I'll be forever grateful.

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