Just look at that photo of Lin and it tells you pretty much everything you need to know about her. She was larger than life and a woman of passion…a wonderful, happy, fun-loving person who was a pure joy to be around. She was love personified: she loved to laugh, she loved to have a good time, she loved life, and above all, she loved her family and her friends. Lin was taken from us far too soon, at the age of 58; while we will forever miss the bounty of that love, we will always carry with us a little of the laughter and a hint of the smile she always wore.
Lin was one of AWARE’s Founding Mothers; her signature is on our incorporation documents when AWARE was incorporated in 1989. Lin plugged along with us before that, too, helping us get established in our bookkeeping practices that carry forward to this day. She was devoted to many women’s causes and women’s organizations, including Interval House, the Sexual Assault Crisis Centre, Bertha’s Counselling Centre and the Centre for Abuse and Trauma Therapy. She was welcomed by all of us for her cheerfulness and her commitment and, of course, the sunny energy she brought to every cause.
Jill of All Trades
Lin’s daughters, Terry and Sarah, described Lin as a “Jill of all trades”. Apart from her work as either a volunteer or employee in the not-for-profit sector, she was also a child care provider, bus driver, saleswoman, researcher, and always a bookkeeper. To say Lin was organized was an understatement. When it came to events and causes dear to her heart, she worked tirelessly making phone calls, preparing endless spreadsheets, lists, and schedules to keep everyone on task. She believed in the power of people and was skilled at getting others recruited and devoted to the cause, too.
In her family life, Lin was devoted to her husband, her children, and her grandchildren. Nothing brought her greater joy than to be surrounded by her wonderful family (and, of course, her little dachshund, Princess). Over the years, the Spences also provided a foster family to more than 20 foster children, many of whom still refer to Lin as “mom”. Lin also had a very close relationship with her grandmother, whom we all knew as “Nanny”. Lin cherished her Nanny and we all remember many afternoons sitting with Nanny and Lin taking tea together in Nanny’s sunny kitchen in Portsmouth.
Words To Live By
Apart from all these many loves in her life, Lin had one other: shopping. She loved to shop and to buy little gifts for her family and friends. All of us, over the years, have many momentos of Lin’s shopping expeditions. Oh yes, she also loved road trips. And going out for dinner, having a drink (or two) and eating lots of decadent desserts. Really, she was always just so much fun to be around. Lin’s daughters say that her two favourite expressions were “I’m going shopping” and “Life is short; eat dessert first.”
A Life Lived To Its Fullest
Lin’s boundless zest for life and living it to the fullest is all the more extraordinary given that she had serious health concerns, and she had been confined to a wheelchair for the last several years of her life. But being in that chair didn’t ever stop Lin for one second, not from working, or going to meetings, or heading down the highway, or going out for dinner, or shopping, not anything. And, believe me, you would not want to get in the way of that motorized chair if you were downtown. There would be Lin, whizzing by, laughing and waving and seizing every opportunity to be out and about. She was truly remarkable.
The last words here belong rightly to Terry and Sarah, Lin’s beloved daughters. In the midst of their grief at losing their mother far too soon, they still feel blessed; Terry said “I feel really lucky because mom has left with us with wonderful friends to help us through this time.” And as they both said, Lin was not a person to lean on, but a person who made leaning unnecessary. We love you always, Lin.
Written by Wendy Reynolds with Terry and Sarah Spence on behalf of AWARE and the Spence family