New Castle News

Closer Look

December 22, 2012

Enduring Love: From tragedy comes hope and lasting memories

NEW CASTLE — Linda McBride has long been familiar with pain, suffering and even death.

A nurse with Jameson Hospice of Lawrence County, she has frequently been at bedsides, comforting families as they say a final goodbye to their terminally ill loved ones. Linda thought she understood their pain, fear, and anger, how to be compassionate, and the “what ifs” and denial.

Yet, none of her skills could prepare her for the tragedy that affected her own life and that of her three children and six grandchildren just before Christmas two years ago.

“I will never forget November 19, 2010,” Linda said.

Her husband of 38 years, Leslie, was cutting down trees and cleaning out fence rows by himself.

“He was healthy, strong and an accomplished farmer at age 60. As he cut, he never saw a second tree, which had fallen and was trapped in the tree he was sawing down. When the large tree fell, the second tree fell on top of him.”

Hours later, Linda returned from work and was surprised to find Les not at home. Worried, she called her two sons, Michael and David — both police officers who live nearby — and they began to search for their father. He had been trapped for several hours, and was flown by helicopter from the scene to a trauma unit in Youngstown, but succumbed to his injuries 36 hours later. The funeral and burial was held the day before Thanksgiving.

“That was the first holiday without him,” Linda said. “How does life go on when you feel your whole world has fallen apart?”

Yet, through her faith, and loving friends and family, she found strength. Still, only weeks before Christmas, she wondered how she would be able to celebrate.

She spent the next few days sorting through pictures and found many photos of Les with his grandchildren. They selected a favorite photo taken with their grandfather as their own treasured keepsake.

But that was only the beginning.

Linda’s friend, Margaret, was a Hospice volunteer for many years. As part of the Hospice volunteer corps, Margaret constructs teddy bears for the survivors, made from clothes of their deceased loved one. Linda contracted Margaret to make a bear for each of the grandchildren and her daughter, Shelli, from the clothes Les wore in each of the pictures they had chosen.

“I wanted something for the children that they could hold and love, because their Pa had passed away,” Linda said. “Children are so in tune with stuffed animals.”

That Christmas Eve, the grandchildren and Shelli received their bears.

But there was a surprise for Linda as well.

Margaret had included an eighth bear made from remnants of all the clothes from the other seven bears. It was for Linda to have her own piece of Les to hold and love.

“My grandson said that was the best Christmas present ever,” Linda said. “The girls love dressing and undressing their bears.”

All the grandchildren named the stuffed toys Pa Bear.

“Pa is squeezed and hugged, and kissed. He goes to bed with them every night.”

Linda’s 4-year-old granddaughter, Marli, told her pre-school, “This is my Pa Bear. He wears Pa’s clothes. Pa died and is in heaven. He’s watching out for me. I love Pa.”

“This beautiful gesture made into a lasting memory has helped our grandchildren understand life is a gift,” Linda said. “We can all go on together honoring Pa’s life.”


Text Only | Photo Reprints
Closer Look
  • tv04.jpg New Castle director, writer, producer filming zombie pilot locally

    The horror genre holds a special fascination for Tom Stoops. He has been a devotee of that film style since he was young. So it makes perfect sense that as a director, executive producer, writer and actor, zombies would show up in his latest project.

    April 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • money.jpg Neshannock trail to be integrated regionally

    Construction of a downtown section of the Neshannock Creek Trail is expected to commence this summer. Lawrence County planning director Amy McKinney briefed the county commissioners yesterday on a 1,400-mile trails project initiated by Power of 32.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Shale royalty meeting for landowners planned

    Lawrence County residents who have questions about royalties on gas drilling leases are invited to a meeting tomorrow.

    April 23, 2014

  • Townships to pave roads

    Youngblood Paving Inc. was awarded a contract for this year’s road maintenance in North Beaver and Little Beaver townships.

    April 23, 2014

  • oneill.tiff Union principal receives award

    Union Area School District’s elementary principal will receive the 2014 Distinguished Female Educator Award. The award from the Tri-State Area School Study Council is to be presented April 24 to Linda J. O’Neill during the 12th annual Dr. Jean Winsand International Institute for Women in School Leadership at the Edgewood Country Club in Penn Hills.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Good to grow: Library to offer seed lending program

    Patrons of the New Castle Public Library will soon have another service to look forward to. For newcomers to gardening and seasoned pros, the library is having — for the first time — a seed lending program.

    April 22, 2014

  • Knives prompt reporting of school violence

    On a typical day last year, Pennsylvania schools caught 11 students toting weapons. They were knives, similar to ones used to slash 21 students and a security guard at a Pittsburgh-area high school, according to the state Department of Education.

    April 22, 2014

  • Ferannte.tiff Upholstery shop showcases music, talent

    Following in the footsteps of his father, grandfather and great-grandfather, Jim Ferrante is working to improve his community.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Local pastor helping fire victims

    A local pastor is opening up donation avenues to help two families who lost their homes to fire this week.

    April 18, 2014

  • First Energy to replace transmission line

    FirstEnergy Corp. has plans to rebuild a power transmission line between the West Pittsburg plant and a Mahoningtown substation.

    April 18, 2014

House Ads
Seasonal Content
Section Teases
Must Read
Continuous Super Bowl Coverage