1998 began quietly for Paul, as he was reunited with Youth in February at his Hog Hill Studio, and together they recorded their second album together. They co-wrote each of the eight tracks. The album would be released on September 21st of 1998, again under The Fireman. The album was to be called, RUSHES. While it was similar in vain to their previous release, STRAWBERRIES OCEANS SHIPS FOREST, it was a progression in that each track was a stand alone, and not variations of the same track.
We will review all of The Fireman releases after we have caught up with Paul in 2021.
Right after these sessions in March, Linda gathered up all of her strength and will power and together with Paul, decided to finish up some songs she had written or co-written with Paul.
They worked on three songs with the serious intent to gather all of the songs Linda had been responsible for since those 1973 early sessions.
In April, Linda’s condition quickly began to worsen. Despite every medical treatment given in New York and in Arizona, the cancer began to reek its final havoc.
Joined by Paul and family, they went to their Arizona home. Linda’s was born there and this was always her “go to” home which she favored the most. Paul, again knew how bad her condition had become but kept the FULL EXTENT of her health from her. In these last days they enjoyed the sun, and togetherness. Even with a few days left of her life, she again rode with Paul on some of their prized Appaloosa’s.
Suddenly, she slipped into a coma, and with her family at her side she passed away on April 17th, 1998.
The family issued a statement:
This is a total heartbreak for my family and I. Linda was, and still is, the love of my life, and the past two years we spent battling her disease have been a nightmare.
She never complained and always hoped to be able to conquer it. It was not to be.
Our beautiful children – Heather, Mary, Stella and James – have been an incredible strength during this time, and she lives on in all of them.
The courage she showed to fight for her causes of vegetarianism and animal welfare was unbelievable. How many women can you think of who would single handedly take on opponents like the meat and livestock commission, risk being laughed at, and yet succeed?
People who didn’t know her well, because she was a very private person, only ever saw the tip of the iceberg. She was the kindest woman I have ever met; the most innocent.
All animals to her were like Disney characters and worthy of love and respect. She was the toughest woman who didn’t give a damn what other people thought. She found it hard to be impressed by the fact that she was Lady McCartney. When asked whether people called her Lady McCartney, she said, “Somebody once did once, I think.”
I am privileged to have been her lover for 30 years, and in all that time, except for one enforced absence, we never spent a single night apart. When people asked why, we would say – “What for?”
As a photographer, there are few to rival her. Her photographs show an intense honesty, a rare eye for beauty.
As a mother, she was the best. We always said that all we wanted for the kids was that they would grow up to have good hearts; and they have.
Our family is so close that her passing has left a huge hole in our lives. We will never get over it, but I think we will come to accept it.
The tribute she would have liked best would be for people to go vegetarian, which, with the vast variety of foods available these days, is much easier than many people think. She got into the food business for one reason only, to save animals from the cruel treatment our society and traditions force upon them.
Anyone less likely to be a businesswoman I can’t think of, yet she worked tirelessly for the rights of animals, and became a food tycoon. When told a rival firm had copied one of her products, all she would say was, “Great, now I can retire.” She wasn’t in it for the money.
In the end, she went quickly with very little discomfort, and surrounded by her loved ones.
The kids and I were there when she crossed over. They each were able to tell her how much they loved her.
Finally, I said to her: “You’re up on your beautiful Appaloosa stallion. It’s a fine spring day. We’re riding through the woods. The bluebells are all out, and the sky is clear blue.”
I had barely got to the end of the sentence, when she closed her eyes, and gently slipped away.
She was unique and the world is a better place for having known her.
Her message of love will live on in our hearts forever.
I love you, Linda.
Next…. Linda and the rest of 1998.