When you fall in love, you inherit a whole lot of other people along with the one you fell in love with.
Sometimes they are the wonderful people the ones you are thankful for having met, folks you instantly click with and can talk to about anything.
Sometimes it’s the crazy lady who is growing old disgracefully, the one that people warn you about with a wry smile, the family character.
Sometimes they’ll be caring and supportive of your love for their relation, the one you fell for, welcoming you into the fold with open arms.
Sometimes they’ll make inappropriate jokes and comments that make you spit out your morning coffee, surprising you with a sense of humour far younger than their years.
Sometimes they will make you feel like a favourite child, delighted with the praise heaped upon you, swelling your chest with the pride of their approval.
Sometimes they are the sort to give stern warnings to look after their loved one, on pain of death.
And sometimes, if you are really, really lucky, you’ll meet someone who is all of those things, somebody who deeply touches your life in a short space of time, someone who you feel as though you’ve known your whole life by the end of your first conversation.
In my case, that person was Aunt Linda.
She was never anything but passionately supportive of my and Rhonda’s relationship, taking Rhonda’s word that she and Audrey were happy and giving her full blessing to their new life in England.
Everyone I introduced her to was equally bewitched, the latest only having met her a few days ago and already feeling as though they were life-long friends who could talk for hours.
My “new” Aunt, Linda Rowe, suffered a heart attack on Thursday night and I’m deeply saddened to say that she passed away last night.
I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have known her and my thoughts are with her immediate family, who must feel the loss of such a wonderful woman very keenly.
What is especially amazing is that, except for one brief chat on Skype, we never “met”. All our conversations took place on Facebook messenger because she was thousands of miles and eight timezones away.
Yet I have a very clear picture of the mischievous Linda; a bright and funny lady, irreverent, occasionally vulgar but always loving, a fan of Dr Who and Monty Python, an effusive and enthusiastic supporter of my blog, always with something nice to say about my writing and words of encouragement for Rhonda, on her big adventure in a country far away from home.
You don’t get people like Linda turning up in your life very often, so when you do you should make the most of them.
I think I, and anyone else who had the privilege to know her, have an awful lot to be grateful for.
We all loved you Aunt Linda, thanks for everything.