Saturday, November 28, 2009

Dear Susan

I drove up to your house on a cold winter evening. I thought twice before I knocked on the door because I'd already screwed everything up and I hadn't even met you yet.

My references were bad. I was late. It wasn't a great way to introduce myself.

But, I was broke and poverty beat out insecurity.

Your house was beautiful. A mansion.

I knocked on the door, an unlikely Jane Eyre.

I'll never forget that door opening. I'll never forget that door and your face. You were wearing a coat. It was dark inside your house, but your eyes... they were so shiny. So bright. And your smile.... it welcomed me. And for the first time in a long time I felt I was home.

It was a quick interview. I was honest with you and you were honest with me. You said we'd be a good fit. You entrusted me with your home and your children when no one in my life trusted me with anything.

And for the first part of our journey I did take care of them, didn't I? They loved me and I loved them. Your three babies. School aged but still needy.

And that day you told me you were sick... that there was a lump. And then I took care of you. We bought scarves and went to Chemo and learned how to cook kale. You shared your plan. You would live to see them all grown up.

You beat it back for sixteen years and lived to see them become themselves. I was long gone by then, immersed in my own life. That life you taught me how to live. I was the mother of three babies... and I knew how to take care of them, because I watched you. I cook some mean Kale.

The words here don't do justice to you or yours or what you meant to any of us. You live on the inside.

You are all the words.

There wouldn't be any words without you.

I hope this year in Heaven has been a good one.

I love you very much.

P.S. I finished the book. And wrote two more. I wrote and I wrote and you came out through my fingers. My finishing and you leaving couldn't have been a coincidence. One last push in the right direction? Thank you and thank you and thank you again. Forever thanking you.


  1. Incredible memorial to someone whose specialness I can feel thru your words. How lucky you were to have someone like that in your life! Are you still in touch with her kids?

  2. There's a book in there somewhere. Sorry for your loss. She sounds like an amazing woman.

  3. It's amazing how someone trusting you can help you trust yourself. My mother-in-law did much the same for me. The sincerity and love you put in the homages you have written is astounding. Thank you for stark beauty and honesty of your words; they touch me so deeply.

  4. Beautiful, an honor to have had the privilige of reading this letter. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Suzanne do you get sick of me saying WOW to your writing? I can't help myself. WOW. I was knocking on that door with you. And you had tears in my eyes at the Kale. She may have been all the words, but you have definately found your own. And I love them :)

    Never stop those words will you? No matter what? Never. Stop.

  6. This resonates. She has survived through you. Touching tribute.

  7. Oh beautifully written, wonderful tribute to your employer/friend.

  8. Thank you for sharing, Suzy. It was very beautiful, and I bet she would be very proud of you. *hugs*

  9. and we are thanking you
    thie circle continues

  10. Really poignant and thoughtful tribute...


  11. What a lovely tribute to a beautiful lady.

  12. This is so beautiful, Suzanne. I'm sure she gave that push. I'm glad you know and love her still.