After the tragic loss of her baby son, Linda Minto began creating cards and gifts for the moments in life when it can feel like there are no words you can say, writes Caoimhe Young
Words That Care was born from Linda Minto’s everlasting love for her belovedson, and has resulted in a range of compassionate prints, posters, greeting cards and gifts which will be featured at this year’s Gifted Contemporary Craft and Design Fair in Dublin.
Linda’s world was shattered when her nine-week-old son Ryan passed away from sudden infant death syndrome in 1996, leaving herself, her husband and two small children devastated.
But it was only years later when she couldn’t find an appropriate card for a friend who had suffered a loss, that she discovered her gift for writing words of comfort that fail so many others.
“Ryan died 26 years ago and looking back, it’s good to know that out of something so sad, came something so positive,” said Portmarnock-based Linda.
“At the time, it was horrendous for all my family. We had lost the whole point to this world but we kept going for the sake of our other two small children.
“I had been working in banking management and was a total career woman, intent on climbing the ladder. But I lost all interest after Ryan’s death.
“I always loved to write and was really good about putting down my feelings on paper as a way to process my grief. I wrote Ryan letters to tell him how much he was loved and missed, and he is still very much my inspiration today.
“A friend was going through a tough time and I wanted to give her a card but I couldn’t find one that said what I wanted to say. So I started writing them myself to give comfort, hope and love to others,” explains the Dubliner.
“People from all over the world now buy my frames, and I’m privileged that so many people confide in me about their grief and their lost loved ones.
“I’m so glad I can help them. This is my passion now and I’m so lucky to be able to jump out of bed every day to do something I love.
“Very often, people are at a loss of what to say to someone grieving — now I can be their voice.
“My frames are supplied to me by a local Irish firm and then I make them up by myself, ready to sell on to my stockists and to the public.
“I mostly work alone (from home) but at busy times of the year, I have plenty of help from family and friends.
“Coming up to Christmas is always crazy busy so my daughter, my sister-in-law and anyone else I can persuade all come onboard to help me.
“Even my mum, who is 82 next birthday, helps out with packing my greeting cards up!
“My husband is super with setting up my stands for the large trade shows and will be there setting us up for Gifted in the RDS in the next couple of weeks too.
“What do my family think?” Linda throws her head back and laughs, “Mostly, I’m sure they think I’m mad!
“But they see how hard I work and I believe they are very proud of me and how far I have come.
“They’ve seen me working day and night, seven days a week, and the determination I have to make sure that my words get out into the world to help as many people as possible.
“I genuinely want the world to have been a better place because I was in it.”
“Most importantly, this is Ryan’s legacy. His photo sits on my desk and I feel that we work together every day.
“Out of such a sad and tragic situation all those years ago, something positive has emerged that will help others.”
Gifted — The Contemporary Craft & Design Fairtakes place at the RDS, Dublin, from Wednesday,November 30 to Sunday, December 4. Seegiftedfair.ie. For more about Words that Care and to shop the range, visit lindaminto.com