linda doig was in a better place

last week one of the women occupying with us in lee park died, alone, in a hotel room.  she’d come into the park looking for a safe place to sleep, a place she could keep warm.  i was there on her first night.  i actually had to do a fair bit of de-escalation and support work for linda that night.  through the safety of a tent, linda and i spoke in broken phrases, trying to tease out what she wanted that night, what she needed.  she wanted to be warm, she wanted to be safe, she wanted to sleep.  others in the camp had already offered her  a space to make that happen.  but still she needed that voice on the other side of her tent to reassure her.

as linda became a part of the community, we realized she had some serious medical needs.  she complained of pain and it didn’t seem to be getting any better.  finally we helped her to the hospital where they discovered several broken ribs and blood in her lungs.  when linda got out she had a cane and a slow smile on her face.  i sat down with her one day to check in and catch up.  while we sat chatting, her partner carey walked over and brought her some food.  she said she was still in pain, but getting better.

the next time i saw linda she was standing on the outer ring of our general assembly.  a man was announcing an opportunity for folks in the camp to make free business cards if they wanted to start marketing themselves while looking for jobs.  linda, a little out of process and with fire in her eyes, volunteered to work with the man and try to get more of the homeless folks in camp with us to start actively job hunting.  she already had a sheet of paper in her hand that folks had been signing up on.  she was clearly feeling better and becoming a connected, integral part of the camp.

linda came to lee park with a bit of legend in her story.  she’d been an international model in her younger life.  but when the industry was done with her body, when she no longer fit the oppressive beauty standard, they left her career-less and without purpose in the world.  there are some years missing that i dont know enough about and then linda was struggling with alcoholism and then she was homeless.  it isn’t an uncommon story.  we are isolated, demeaned, oppressed, and pushed out into the world with the understanding that we need to be fiercely self-reliant.  and when we fail, where do we go for support?  it’s a trap, yeah, we can’t possibly thrive in that structure, at least we cannot thrive AND be happy.

linda came to occupy charlottesville for support and she found community.  she found a place where we cared about each other, where we expressed concern and listened, where we did our best to take care of each others needs, no matter how difficult.  she was alive, when she was part of that community.  her alcoholism loosened its grip on her and she began to organize and support others.  it was beautiful to watch her come into herself again, to feel into her power and to flex her compassion.  it was enough to bring me to tears.

four days after the eviction of occupy charlottesville, linda doig was found dead in a hotel room her family had been paying for her to stay in.  she was alone when she died and it seemed that she had lost herself in her alcoholism in the days after our eviction.  again the injustices of the world had taken what was meaningful to linda away from her.  something that had been beginning to heal her had been ripped away, all because an encampment made people uneasy, because a few voices complained about not being able to walk through the park anymore.

sunday night occupy charlottesville held a vigil for linda.  i couldn’t be there because i’m out of town, but i did my own moment of silence, trying to direct my love towards that community in pain and the woman who was no longer with us.  and tonight at city
council members of occupy charlottesville spoke in defense of the community we were building and tried to point out how council’s complicity in evicting occupy cville had taken away what was healing linda.  they spoke in grief and rage and it was beautiful.

there is an opportunity for council members to respond, after public comment has been made.  only one of the five responded at all to the comments made by members of occupy cville.  and though sympathetic, she had the audacity to claim that linda was in a better place now.  that she no longer had to worry about applying for section 8 housing.  but damn it, linda had already BEEN in a better place.  she had been in a place that recognized her as a whole and valuable person, she had been alive and really alive, she had been loved and cared for.  to city council, i say fuck you, and do not patronize the memory of an incredible woman you never knew.  and do not side step your responsibility for criminalizing spaces that restructure how we engage with each other, how we see and hear and care for each other.

to linda, i say i miss you.  we miss you.  that day we talked in the sunshine and you smiled through your painful recovery, you shared a piece of your spirit and your heart with me that i will carry around forever, that i promise you i will use to share with others.  i promise that i will carry your spirit with me and use it to make me a better person, to make this world a better place.  i am furious that we left you alone, that you are gone and i never got to say good bye, that you are gone.  that you are gone just as i saw you come alive.  i cant really keep writing, the tears and the fury are making it hard to see the screen.  you are loved, linda.

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17 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Barbie
    Dec 20, 2011 @ 05:38:14

    I knew Linda as “Beechy” in our online community http://www.nightchat.net... She was an awesome lady that still had hopes and dreams. Her and I talked about moving to a warmer climate and getting some sunshine and sitting on the beach watching the sunsets.. I will miss her.

    Beechy ty hun for being part of our family also. Luv ya girl!

    Reply

    • Sara Tansey
      Dec 20, 2011 @ 06:13:35

      dear barbie, thank you for sharing your love and experience of linda here. she was an incredible woman, with hopes and dreams and passion in her soul. please share with others who knew her. and please pass along to carey if you know how to get in touch with him. i don’t myself and am trying to find him.

      Reply

  2. Barbie
    Dec 20, 2011 @ 06:41:01

    I don’t know carey personally Sara… but i will see if i can get it along to him also. TY and yes she was very passionate and still had dreams and pride and felt she could live again the way she wanted… the way she hoped… Thanks again

    Reply

  3. Michael Goodman
    Dec 20, 2011 @ 21:40:59

    OMG this news just made my jaw drop. I am Beastmaster from http://www.f2mchat.com where i too knew Linda as Beechy. Our family is stunned learning such a good woman is gone. Our prayers are with ya ALWAYS!

    Reply

    • Sara Tansey
      Dec 21, 2011 @ 03:29:03

      dear michael, i am sad that this is the news i bear and happy that folks who also loved linda are finding out about her passing. please let others who might have known her know. and i would love to hear others words of remembrance. thank you!

      Reply

  4. Hales
    Dec 21, 2011 @ 14:23:12

    OMG i knew Linda as Beechy through Omega.. Im hales an old moderator from there and she was an Amazing person! She always made me smile she always had something funny and amusing to say!! i feel so sad to hear this news.. she will be rememberd..

    Reply

  5. Sally
    Dec 25, 2011 @ 02:45:27

    Hi, my name is Sally, one of the owners of Omega Chat Site. http://www.omegachatsite.com I also know Linda as Beechy and she will be greatly missed. She was a true joy to all the chatters when on our site.. She always wanted on mic so she could talk.. She loved to laugh and always smiled. We will miss her and know that she is truly resting in peace now….

    Thanks, Sally

    Reply

  6. George Dubiel (Dubiwa)
    Dec 25, 2011 @ 02:58:24

    Linda I knew her as Leigh also as Beechy in the Omega and AiM communities met several years ago online. I always thought she was a most awesome person after learning of her death I was utterly shocked I knew she had a drinking problem much like my own. But she still had hopes and dreams. I’ll miss you Beechy

    Love you,
    George

    Reply

  7. Alexia Oxford
    Dec 26, 2011 @ 04:41:33

    Linda was the most amzing woman i have ever met ! i have known her for many, many years…and i can only say the best of her! She was a woman with a hart of gold…and one of extreme intelligence! Her sense of humor was unparalled as was her passion for learning! She had read 3,500 books in life, and she a deep knowledge of history, religion and philosophy. A truly remarkable person…a unique one!! ONE THING…YOU…HER FRIENDS, HAVE TO KNOW…IS THAT THE MAN THAT CLAIMS WAS HER “BOYFRIEND'”, IN REALITY WAS THE MAN WHO PHISICALLY TORTURED HER, SALVAGELY BEAT AND KICKED HER…TO THE POINT OF PUNCHING HER IN THE FACE AND BREACKING HER RIBS AND CAUSING A TEAR IN HER LUNGS THAT CAUSED HEAVY BLEADING INTO THEM! LINDA WAS IN TERRIBLE PAIN BECAUSE OF HIM!! SHE MOST LIKELY DIED OF THE INJURIES THAT HE CAUSED HER! SHE WAS SUFFERING AT A POINT THAT DRINKING HAD BECAME INDISPENSABLE FOR HER TO SUFFER LESS…BUT SHE KNEW SHE WAS GOING TO DIE OF IT! SHE HAD LOST ALL CONFIDENCE IN HAVING LOVE AND A COMPANION IN LIFE,,,AFTER SUCH BRUTALITY!! THE MAN YOU THINK OF BEEN HURT FOR HER DEATH…IS THE ONE THAT CAUSED IT!! HE NEEDS TO BE BROUGHT TO JUSTICE!!…AND SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES OF WHAT HE HAS DONE!! HE HAS VANISHED…SO IF YOU KNOW WHERE HE IS…PLEASE LET THE POLICE KNOW…AND ME! I WILL BE HUNTING HIM DOWN FOREVER!!…WITH ALL OF HER FRIENDS HELP!!

    Reply

    • Sara Tansey
      Dec 26, 2011 @ 15:44:36

      dear alexia, i am curious to know if this is true. i get that you are saying it is and i had suspicions the first night i met linda and carey. and i tried to get more information out of linda, but women in abusive relationships dont really go around advertising. and of course, carey seemed real sweet to her, real caring. but even abusers can act caring. if you have more information, i’d love to know more. but maybe we should switch to email. mine is sara.m.tansey@gmail.com thanks!

      Reply

    • terra
      Dec 28, 2011 @ 18:52:44

      Reply

    • darla henley
      Jan 10, 2012 @ 02:34:43

      First of all…the police are not actively seeking my brother. The police and medical personnel were called to the motel earlier in the evening before she died and she refused any treatment, but she did sign a Medical Directive giving him permission to make medical decisions for her. She checked herself out of the hospital against medical advice several days before she arrived at Lee Park. We believed she was being discharged and took her clothes because the hospital’s desperate attempt to contact “next of kin” turned up no results. This woman could barely stand up on her best day. Her clothes were urine soaked because her kidneys had shut down, her mouth bled constantly because her teeth were all abcessed and she was never homeless. Check out Albemarle County property records for 2325 Mountain Brook Drive. Linda was in the hospital a couple of times during the last two months. She had case workers, medical personnel and police involved in her life that were bound to recognize any severe abuse. The only thing my brother was charged with was trespassing, because he kept trying to sneak into her place to take care of her because she had no one else. Believe me…..I wouldn’t defend him for a second if I thought he was a beater. She was a beautiful soul…..and shouldn’t have died the way she did, but when Carey met her and Ashley they were living in squalor with windows broken out of their house, cat feces, dirty clothes and garbage everywhere. He went in with the intention to help. No…it wasn’t the best relationship……….how would you expect that?….but..don’t be so quick to judge.

      Reply

      • Vanie
        Jul 26, 2012 @ 18:09:26

        The last time i saw Linda was in 1997. A beautiful person, Do you know how or where is Ashley?

  8. Nina
    Jan 02, 2012 @ 18:38:34

    Google Linda Doig and you will find a story in which Linda was arrested this past summer for stabbing Carey in an altercation on Harris Road near the Willoughby Shopping Center.

    Reply

  9. Sissy
    Feb 21, 2012 @ 18:13:36

    I know for a fact she had told people in chat she was being stalked and was being abused and was scared for her life..

    Reply

  10. Sabrina
    Dec 27, 2013 @ 20:25:07

    I knew Linda from Miami in the early 80s. She was a beautiful woman from the inside as well as from the outside. I was looking for her for years but couldn’t get in touch with her. I only found out yesterday what happened to her. It broke my heart…. For all of you that knew her and want to share stories, photos or simply wanna remember her: I created a Facebook page for her. You can join here: https://www.facebook.com/lindadoigleighrichards
    Best regards from Germany,
    Sabrina

    Reply

  11. chellig
    Jan 23, 2014 @ 19:22:06

    I knew Leigh ( Leigh for Linda, Richards for her father) in her good years in NYC. She was happy, beautiful, successful storng and so very kind and generous to me, a new comer. I mooved back to my country after few years and we lost touch (no internet, no facebook at the time). in the last few years I’ve googled her every few months, trying to find her.
    Today I have, and I am so very sorry and sad. may you rest in peace

    Reply

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