How Can I Keep From Singing

By Paul Magno

I woke up here in Baltimore this morning and knew it must be raining for a reason
Just a few minutes later a brief text from David Hoovler announced that Lin Romano had died this morning, at age 63 after a 16 month battle with cancer.

Hard not to cry, harder even to cry.

Lin had lived at Jonah House for about a year in the late 1980s, after her participation in the Epiphany Plowshares disarmament action at Willow Grove Naval Air Station in PA in January of 1987. After four trials she was finally convicted and sentenced to two years in federal prison in Lexington KY.

For over a decade before that, she had lived and worked among the poorest people in Washington DC as a member of the Community for Creative Nonviolence.

Throughout the last three decades, she has remained “passionate about creating a just world,” through several jobs here in Baltimore, through her continued association with Jonah House, and with David, to whom she was married since 2005.

Joe Byrne and I had an opportunity to visit her last week at the Gilchrist Center, an inpatient hospice care facility in Towson, and be by her bedside for about an hour. Though her body was weak, she was aware of our presence and tried to sing along with the tunes Joe played on the dulcimer. She was able to smile and open her eyes a few times.

We wait on word from David about any memorial arrangements.

To close, I’ll paraphrase just one of those songs

Her life flows on in endless song
Above earth’s lamentation.
We hear the real, though far off hymn
That hails the new creation.
Above the tumult and the strife
We hear the music ringing;
She sounds an echo in our souls
How can we keep from singing?