Lynda was laughter. Lynda was joy. Lynda was beautiful neurosis in the kind of way that made you crave neurotic. Lynda was a mane of thick blonde hair and a thousand-watt smile. Lynda was charismatic. Lynda was unique. A devoted aunt and the only one that could rival me in the devotion to children that aren’t their own. Lynda just loved family and people — period.
Lynda was my Aunt Polly’s favorite. Lynda was my Memaw’s favorite. Lynda was everybody’s favorite. And we all knew it.
Lynda was the one my Uncle Chunky viewed as the closest thing he’d ever have to a daughter — until I came along. And if she was ever resentful over that, she never showed it. She just showed up with a smile and that southern drawl that could say “Aunt Kat” in a way that made you wish you had one. I don’t think she had it in her repertoire to indulge anything other than goodness.
Unless it yielded massive amounts of “I can’t believe we’re doing this!” fun.
You couldn’t be around Lynda without seeing why everyone loves her. To know her was to want to be more like her, because being in her presence meant just flat out having having fun. Lynda loved her sons with every fiber of her being, and I believe Linda just all-out loved life.
In fact, when I smell fresh corn or newly cut hay, I draw an association to Nuna. Always. Because she just smelled like the best things in life — and, of course, like summertime.
I see her with a cigarette in one hand and a Coke can in the other, driving around in that Tahoe singing, “I think my butt getting big, oooh!” Calling people by their first and last names in a way that made you giggle — especially when she said, “Bradley Garton!”
You knew something good was coming after that.
Nuna was original in a way that leaves you with a loss for words and a hole in your heart so deep it makes you sick. And the type of fun that when she moved real estate companies, she sent out mailers to all her previous clients that read: “I’ve moved and so should you!”
I never loved her more — or was more proud to call her family — than I was the day I got that in the mail. I laughed for a week straight.
That was just standard Nuna experience.
Nuna was impossible to define and even more impossible to imagine life without. It’s hard to fathom why God chooses who he picks and when he calls them home. There are billionaires with a net worth greater than the GDP of some small countries, that go around spewing filth, ripping people off, making absolutely no difference in the world except demonstrating how to amass an insane fortune and still not have a philanthropic bone in your body; there’s people like my own “father” who do nothing but waste space and oxygen for the duration of their entire existence; there’s Brandon Vandenbergs still on this planet; people who take up earthly energy for a hundred years that are so hateful or evil that they’d never be missed at all.
I can’t understand why God takes someone like Nuna and leaves them — and I won’t try to pretend to.
I just know that people live on after they’re gone because someone takes them with them. In their ever grieving spirit — they take them with them. And if that’s the case, Lynda will live on and on and on.
From Harley to Haley to Shaylee to E.C. to hoards of cousins who adore her, Lynda Gail Gaskins will live on.
Because it would be impossible to have crossed paths with her and not carry a piece of Nuna in your soul.
See you on the other side, Nuna. We love you immeasurably.
Tell Bubba I can’t wait to meet him.