GONE: On Love, Body, & Taking Back My Life with Linda K. Olson
March 12, 2021
Hosted by Diane Dewey
Linda Olson and her husband, Dave Hodgens, were young doctors whose story had all the makings of a fairy tale. But then, while they were vacationing in Germany, a train hit their van, shattering their lives?and Linda’s body. When Linda saw Dave for the first time after losing her right arm and both of her legs, she told him she would understand if he left. His response: “I didn’t marry your arms or your legs. If you can do it, I can do it.” In order to protect their loved ones, they decided to hide the truth about what really happened on those train tracks, and they kept their secret for thirty-five years. As a triple amputee, Linda learned to walk with prostheses and change diapers and insert IVs with one hand. She finished her residency while pregnant and living on her own. And she and Dave went on to pursue their dream careers, raise two children, and travel the world. With help from teams of friends and family, Linda and Dave raised their two children to canoe, kayak, backpack, raft and travel in remote places. They learned that it didn’t matter if their mom looked funny, or if she couldn’t do things the way other people did—they could still have a good time and get out and go. Linda was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2015 and is committed to empowering Parkinson’s patients and families to live life as full as possible, in spite of their disabilities, and to get up, get out, and go. Inspiring and deeply moving, Gone asks readers to find not only courage but also laughter in the unexpected challenges we all face. The day of the accident, no one envied Linda and Dave. Today, many do.
Friday at 8 AM Pacific Time on VoiceAmerica Variety Channel
At Dropping In we’ll explore diverse stories about identity. By listening to others talk about their own path, ours becomes less fearful. Where are we now and how do we meet the challenges? Dropping In is a place of discovery. We might believe that our life experiences are uniquely our own. Yet there’s a community of people that are here to bear witness, to relate to, link arms with and support us. They join us on Dropping In, tackling subjects like breaking into your dream business, cultural differences, child abuse, mental illness, shamanism, gender search, religious shunning, and fitting in as a marginalized outsider. These can feel like lonesome tasks. How do others find their power? Listening to their personal truths validates our own. Drop into the conversation to find the common threads, your uniqueness and our shared experience as humans.
My most pressing question has always been about identity: Who am I? Growing up near Philadelphia with my adoptive family, my genetic identity was hidden. Then, my Swiss biological father, Otto, contacted me when I was age forty-seven in 2002. I’d been told by my adoptive parents that my biological parents were dead, supposedly to protect me. Meeting Otto upended my life. Through him, I met my German biological mother’s family to discover that her story too, had been changed; that she’d not wanted to surrender me and she’d searched for me all her life. Finding my truth was essential.
Based on my experience I am excited to talk to people about their own search for identity. My education includes a BA from Villanova University, a certificate from the Art Institute of Philadelphia and a Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling from Capella University. I’ve worked for The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The SoHo Partnership and the National Academy of Design and have studied writing through New York University’s Continuing Education program. As an entrepreneur, I founded my art appraisal business, The Realization of Art in 2006. My non-fiction writing has been published in Shared Space, a monograph, and in Artes online magazine. Writing workshops worldwide have given me the chance to learn and hone my craft. My first book, “Fixing the Fates,” was awarded the National Non-Fiction Author’s Association Silver Medal and the Living Now Award.