Suzanne was a stunning woman about five foot seven in height, short dark thick hair and big brown eyes. She was a classic beauty. Her spirit was full of love, brightness and pure kindness. The kind of attributes that aren’t found often today in so many people I have met.
A mother of four, at the time she stepped onto my path. All were grown and had lives of their own. She loved them equally, two boys and two girls. Her daughters were similar to her beautiful, kind, outgoing and smart. One was a interior designer and one was a nurse. Her sons were a handful, but she did all she could to help them along sometimes to her own detriment. Young men, but sometimes lost boys without a compass.
She was married to a man she loved on some level. Sometimes after thirty odd years of marriage the like fades, the commitment is there but not much else. He was not kind or attentive. He was a lazy man and she was the total opposite. She was one of the hardest working women I had ever met. She had her work, her children and two grandchildren. It was enough she told me.
When I had the good fortune of meeting Suzanne, she was in her early fifties. To this day, I feel she was put on my path to teach me things I hadn’t fully discovered yet.
Some people are so special that once they enter your life it becomes richer and fuller and more wonderful than you ever thought it could be.
I was looking for a house to care for my terminally ill mother and by chance Suzanne came into my life. She was a real estate broker a few towns over. I happened to call her office, set up a meeting and we instantly connected. That doesn’t happen to me often.
I have to say I did put her through the work ringer, as we looked at about fifty homes before I decided on the one I live in today. We looked and looked. Months and months of searching for just the right one. We spent so much time together it had become like meeting a friend..and looking for a house. We grew to know each other and formed a bond like no other.
As fate would have it, my beloved mother died before I found my home. My heart was broken, but I bought a house and made it a home.
Through getting to know Suzanne, I met her family and we spent time together as much as possible with our busy lives. I was single, working , commuting and packing two homes to move into one. She helped me, she came to my parents home and helped me pack their possessions. I donated a lot of my parents belongings. My mother had many friends and some were in need, so they got what they needed, it was as simple as that.
Suzanne told me she had breast cancer about ten years prior to us meeting. She had a double mastectomy. She was a real estate broker and did not have health insurance and took large portions of her commissions to help pay down the balances of her hospital and medical bills. Along with helping her children, she didn’t have much in terms of assets, but the wisdom and grace she had over flowed from every cell of her beautiful body.
She had not gone for her annual check-up with her oncologist, nor did she follow-up with any one of her physicians. “Why”, I asked. It seemed so simple to me, especially coming from a clinical background myself and working in a hospital. Additionally being a caregiver for a parent with lung cancer, on and on… I just couldn’t understand why. To me it seemed so simple. To her it wasn’t.
Suzanne explained that she had an outstanding balance with her physician and was embarrassed to go see him because of it. The balance lingered for years. She followed up with no one. I was astonished. I didn’t give her my opinion, I respected her decision and detected the shame she felt. It was difficult.
A little over two years after our initial meeting, she asked me to meet her in the conference room of the office she owned. I stopped after work, and saw she was pale and serious. Oh how I hated that look. How many times would I see that in my life, that look of illness and bad news to follow. My heart saddened and the adrenaline followed like someone slamming on the brakes of their vehicle just before they hit something. That familiar feeling, again! I felt sick.
Her cancer had returned. This time it was in her bones. She agreed to treatment, chemotherapy. She had no choice, it was aggressive.
She began as an outpatient getting treatments and eventually after the treatments were making her extremely ill, she decided to move into her daughters house for the time she had left.
I would sit by her bed, we would listen to classical music, a soothing melody made the atmosphere almost ethereal. Candles were lit and the glow made ease of the situation in that room. The room was her granddaughters and it was a beautiful pink color, small and cozy with white furniture and floral cotton handmade blankets, the lights always dimmed.
With each visit time vanished and we talked about what life was about. She spoke of how important love was. She told me it’s the only thing that really matters. She spoke of being in love, a true love she had many, many years prior. She told me he came to see her and she was contented by the visit. Their love still existed after so many years apart. It was lovely. I was happy she saw him again, one last time.
She read me some of her favorite poems and bible verses, as I was laying next to her and cried as I knew our time was limited at this point. She spoke about her life and how much she loved her children. How much she loved me in the short time we had become friends. All I could feel was love in that room. We laughed and cried in that beautiful pink room, as cozy and peaceful as a cloud.
I told her I loved her and thanked her for all she had done for me. Giving herself and her time, the wisdom she imparted to me. I told her I would always remember how important love was and promised to never take it for granted.
Suzanne went to the hospital after that night and struggled to let go of the life she so vehemently loved. She had a very hard time. I never saw her again, never heard her voice, never felt her hand on mine. She died in the hospital surrounded by her children. Eight months she lived after her recurrence.
Her funeral was massive, as she was loved by so many. Not a seat in the church. Someone came up to me and told me how much she loved me, it was beautiful. I am forever grateful for Suzanne. Bright, beautiful Suzanne. My friend for such a short block of time on this earth, but more powerful than I could ever express.