2020 Life Logs, Day 286: The Loss of Lynn Denise Martin
Date: Tuesday, October 13, 2020
Weather: Pouring Rain; High 64, Low 52 Degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, Falmouth, MA
My niece, Lynn Denise Martin, passed away peacefully in the early hours of the morning. Even when you know the death of someone you love is imminent, it is still difficult to face the finality. But while I was waiting for an annual dermatology examination this morning, I got the call from Lynn’s sister Candi. Candi explained that Lynn’s mother, my 86 year-old sister-in-law Sue, would be flying home to Florida tomorrow morning at 5:30 am. So I rushed home to pick up the eggplant parmesan I made on Sunday for her and I headed to Billerica, north of Boston. We went out to lunch twice in the past couple of weeks. Both times she wanted eggplant parmesan and neither restaurant had that as an offering. So I wasn’t going to let her go home without sampling it. That, plus I just needed to be close to family. I’ve written here before that my brother died when I was a senior in high school and Sue moved back home to Massachusetts with her three children. But my family kept in close contact over the years. Lynn was 10 years old when her father died. She was the first of the 11 grandchildren my parents would eventually have.
I was seven when Lynn was born and 17 when she moved back to Massachusetts. The most memorable thing about her as a young child was just how very smart she was. She loved to watch television and memorized the commercials. My sister Patsy tells of a time when took three-year-old Lynn to the grocery store. Lynn saw a man buying cigarettes and she told her Aunt Patsy she had to go tell him something. Before Patsy could stop her, little Lynn walked over to the man and told him he should consider buying the new brand with a flip top. Her advice to the man was, “It’s much easier to get the cigarettes out.”That was Lynn. She became a writer and spent her career as an editor for the College Board, for IPPNW (International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, and for Harvard Public Health. She was deeply political and most recently volunteered for the Elizabeth Warren campaign. In the first year that Mark and I were sailing around the world, she flew to Samoa to visit with us. I choose to share some photos of her on that trip here as they are show what she loved doing. She would get up early every morning to write and loved spending time reading on the beach. And like me, she loved history and was very excited about climbing Mount Vaea to visit the tomb of Robert Louis Stevenson. Engraved on that tomb are the words of his epitaph, written by him. “Here (s)he lies where (s)he longed to be, Home is the sailor, home from sea, And the hunter home from the hill.”