Life in Circles: Leaving my crabby pants at the door.

July 2, 2016
Linda Holden

Linda Holden

#MasonCountyPeople #LifeInCircles

Life In Circles by Stephanie Wagner.

Sponsored by Pro-Master Carpet Cleaning, 231-757-9061,

I have to admit, I have been guilty of taking my blessings for granted lately. The daily toll of the mom taxi, combined with a traveling husband, a 130-year-old house, two part-time jobs, and the internal pressure to make it all happen effortlessly has gotten the best of me.

As Linda Holden so eloquently put it, I have been choosing my “crabby pants” more often than my “happy pants”.

My interview with her was like a breath of fresh air.

The first thing many people notice about Linda as she sits behind the desk of an obviously full life in her store, Holden’s Home Emporium in downtown Scottville, is her contagious smile. The second is her missing fingers and prosthetic legs.

It’s hard to find a space for self -pity when you face a woman who went to sleep nine years ago with a slight chill, and woke up in the hospital almost two months later with her hands bandaged and legs amputated just a few inches below the knee.

“I remember going to bed on a Friday night with a slight chill – like I was coming down with the flu. And the next thing I remember was waking up in the hospital in Grand Rapids seven weeks later. I have only heard from my family and doctors what all happened during that time.”

Linda suffered an infection called bacterial sepsis that usually results from bacteria getting into an open wound. She still has no idea how she contracted the bacteria that resulted in her spending the summer of 2009 in the hospital.

“What I do know is that when I was sick, my friend Robyn immediately called the pastor of our church, and they began praying. The Aeromed (helicopter) route goes over the house of some other church members, who stop whatever they are doing when they hear the helicopter to say a prayer for the patient and their family. I was literally covered in prayer from the moment I left my house.”

Linda later found out that her whole family was called to be with her at the hospital.

“My doctors didn’t think I was going to make it.”

The very first thing Linda remembers seeing when she woke up was her daughter, Denise, at her bedside.

“After telling me that I had just missed Dad (Linda’s husband, Roy) because she sent him down to get some rest, Denise sat beside me on the bed. She ran her hands down my legs and said, ‘These are your thighs, Mom. And here are your knees. And this is the end of your legs.’

“Later, Denise told me that the first thing I said on waking was ‘OK’.

“I know that my family was telling me the whole time I was sleeping that it was going to be OK, no matter what. Whether I made it through, or didn’t. It was OK.”

That has been a mantra for the Holden family for as long as Linda can remember.

“We have faced our share of hardships over the years, but I have always believed that it would all be OK in the end. And it always has been.”

Linda’s strong faith in God has helped see her through as well.

“When I was young, my parents had a very turbulent relationship. They would fight often, and I would run to the church that was just up the road from our house. There was a cubby under the stairs, and I would go in there and just sit. It was my safe place.”

Linda and Roy have worked hard to create that same feeling of security for those whose lives they touch.

“It’s harder these days then it used to be.  When I was growing up, I remember my mom and all of the other women in the neighborhood getting together all the time. They would have coffee, visit, share stories. Now, most families have to have two incomes just to get by, and there isn’t as much time for women friends who connect to each other.

“We put a lot back into our business. Roy and I always say, ‘It’s only money’. Our employees need it much more than we do at this point, so we do what we can to support them.”

I watch as Linda connects with her customers and employees alike. She asks about family members, greets new customers like old friends, and provides direction to employees in training with firm yet supportive guidance.

“When we first started out, we were renting out apartments and we kept seeing that our tenants couldn’t afford to furnish their places. We formed a partnership, and started going to estate sales and yard sales to find good used furniture that we could sell at a reasonable price. We had our first sale while we were setting trusses on the pole barn!”

Linda’s voice softens when she reflects on her 48 years of marriage.

Over the past 20 years, they have created a space that is much more than just a furniture store.

She describes a relationship where they push through the hard times, work side by side in business but keep separate buildings, and help make life easier for each other.

“Roy slept on the hospital floor for the first week that I was there. He never left my side. He puts my legs on for me in the morning – not because I can’t, but because it is easier and faster with help. We talk about slowing down, but I don’t think he would know what to do with a spare minute!

“Of course it gets tough. Of course we struggle. No matter what happens, I know that it will eventually get better. You just have to push through whatever the tough times are – there is always sunshine behind the clouds.

“There will always be bad things that happen that we have no control over.  We can control how we react, and that can feed on itself. The light will always dispel the dark if you focus on the positive.

Linda’s 66 years have been a living testament to faith, hope, friendship, and joy.

“I have faith that God – however you understand Him – is in control, and that He wants us to live a full abundant life.  We can be happy and enjoy all that we are given.  When life hands you the tough times, you just need to wait it out. The light will always be there eventually.”

After spending time with Linda, I decided to leave my “crabby pants” at the door. I don’t think I need them anymore.

#MasonCountyPress #HoldensHomeEmporium


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