For those of you following my blog today, I hope you will indulge me with this special tribute to a dear friend.
As we travel down life’s highway, one never knows whom we may encounter along the way that will influence and enrich our lives forever. Only after taking pause to reflect do we truly realize how lucky we’ve been to have made the acquaintances.
Many years ago when I worked for the Government, I encountered a young lady named “Susie” during a training seminar. She was bright and intelligent beyond her years, struggling as a single parent to make a life for herself and her daughter. While her past life had been marked by hardships, she possessed a will and determination to press on and succeed unlike anything I had seen before.
She totally amazed me at how quickly she understood the material presented and I knew she had the ability to handle any situations that may arise with her work. As the months passed, a friendship quickly developed between Susie and I. Within a couple of years she met a wonderful man, a man who would treat her with love and respect. After a brief courtship they were married and Susie eventually resigned her position with the agency. We would occasionally see one another in the store and I could tell by the smile on her face, life was good for Susie. Finally, she had met someone that fulfilled her life and gave both her and her daughter a love that they so needed and deserved.
Then, as life would have it, Susie experienced another heartache, one that would shake her to the core and change her life forever. Her beloved husband suffered a massive heart attack and once again, Susie found herself alone and struggling to make sense of it all. Life just wouldn’t be the same as she’d lost her one “true love”. After a couple of years a job became available in my office and as luck would have it, Susie applied and was given the job. In just a few short weeks it seemed like we had our Susie back again; she was enthralled with her job and seemed to have once again found her niche. She excelled in her work and eventually was offered a job in Washington, D.C; Susie was on top of the world and life was good. After a couple of years, she was transferred to the St. Louis office to head up a payment processing section, one that she would once again tackle with enthusiasm.
Our friendship continued through the years and after I retired in 2007, we would talk at least every month or so, catching up on one another’s lives. Then one day Susie called to say she’d met another love and they planned to marry. In my heart and mind I wasn’t sure if this was right for her but if this was what she wanted, then I wished her well. The happy days lasted for a year or so, and once again she was left alone and hurting. How my heart ached for her; life indeed had dealt her another blow and this time I knew Susie would have a hard time bouncing back.
Fast forward to the present…three weeks ago I received a call from Susie saying she was coming back to Texas for a visit with family and wanted to get together. I eagerly awaited her call but it never came. At the time I knew she had come to visit her brother who was having major surgery; I thought perhaps things had not gone well. Little did I know but she too had been feeling ill with what appeared to be bronchitis. All last week I meant to call and check in with her but each day I’d remember only after crawling into bed at night. Then as I was checking email this past Monday evening, I noticed an email from another friend and the subject line read “Have you heard about Susie”; gasping, I opened the email to find the news of her passing.
As I write this blog today I am saddened at the loss of my friend Susie, but yet so glad that I had the opportunity to have met her during my lifetime. During her short 53 years on this earth, she endured more pain than a lot of us will ever know but yet she left a mark on my life that I will forever be grateful for. So this is for you Susie; rest in peace and know that you are loved and will be missed.