This is going to be short and sweet and likely not very eloquent. I learned this week of the death of a good friend. In a very short span of time, when she lived next door to me in Atlanta, Sue became family. She was the neighbor who brought me chicken matzo ball soup when I was sick and took my child to her house so I could sleep. She was the neighbor who offered to help, bought birthday and Christmas presents (even though she was Jewish) for my son and who put my son’s pictures on her kitchen refrigerator. She listened. She was loyal. She fiercely defended her liberal views—that we both shared. She loved animals as much as people and we shared our bond in rescuing our beloved dogs. She even made a birthday cake for William when he turned 3! It was delicious. On another occasion, when my husband was out of town, she rushed over and killed at least 35 nasty, red paper wasps that had invaded our backyard. My son thought she was a super hero for that! (It involved ingenious underground devices.)
You couldn’t find a better friend. We both loved architecture and original fixtures of the arts and crafts period. We loved our funky, old neighborhood and marveled at how anyone would tear down an original bungalow to build a McMansion. Less is more. I tried so hard to hold onto my adorable craftsman home and when we moved to London, Sue even helped me rent my house and deal with a myriad of renter’s issues. I feel so sad that I let the upheaval with my divorce and my physical distance keep me from staying in better touch. She died in October. It’s now March and I’m just learning about it. In the end, she had a bad heart, ironically. (You won’t find a person on this planet with a kinder one.) She had been hospitalized earlier and was fighting to stay alive. When I had to sell my house, due to the divorce, I was in Atlanta and called her. She was in the hospital and we spoke briefly. She didn’t want me to visit. She was in pain. I could sense that she was miffed as I hadn’t been in better touch. I didn’t know how to excuse my selfishness, or my insanity that took hold when I was trying to raise the baby and my older son solo while struggling to understand why my husband had gone insane. I didn’t want to bother her with all of it…but it felt like she was mad that I wasn’t there.
So, with a sad heart, I’m saying goodbye to a gentle soul whose birthday should be this week. Sue, you taught me so much about courage, conviction, loyalty and friendship. And although I can’t go back in time and re-do anything, I will always remember your sweet smile, sarcastic laugh, generous spirit, quick wit and wonderful friendship. You are missed. xo