A month ago, I woke to the sad news that my dear friend didn’t wake up. The news came as a shock, and I wanted so much for it to be a dream. But it was true: My wonderful SuzieQ died in her sleep in the early hours of 2 September 2022.
My friend was gone, and my heart was broken.
Suzie and I were not friends growing up. But she was my sister Claudia’s friend and classmate (I was her younger brother’s friend and classmate) so we interacted regularly. We weren’t friends, but we were friendly.
Then, sometime in late 2011, we connected on Facebook and began to forge a friendship of our own. Suzie was making big life changes, preparing to leave the life she created on the east coast of America to return home to Washington State to rebuild. And I was rebuilding my life in Scotland after my husband’s death. Soon, we were cheering each other on and supporting each other’s dreams and ambitions.
If you told me in 1992 that Suzie would be one of my dearest friends in 2022, I would have laughed. Indeed, when we connected on Facebook in 2011, I had no expectations of us being anything other than random online connections who once crossed paths in the real world. But I got to know Suzie in the last decade; I got to know her heart.
We moved from friendly acquaintances to supportive friends with ease, finding that we had far more in common with each other than we did with our respective siblings/classmates from “back in the day”. We exchanged messages and posts/comments of support on Facebook and sent “real letters”, Christmas cards, and postcards over the years. I even made a custom swirl for Suzie to celebrate her new start in her new home.
Sadly, I didn’t get a chance to see Suzie on my last two visits home. The first missed visit was because I had travelled home for Christmas with no plans to see anyone other than my folks, and when my trip was extended it was because of my mother’s illness and subsequent death. Then, when I was home this past summer, my time was taken up with my mother’s funeral and time with my father. I wish I had taken the time to see her. It was only a two-hour drive… but I can’t focus on the missed hugs. Instead, I must focus on the countless moments of joy we had over the years.
I will always be sad that we didn’t get to meet up for another day of geocaching or for another homecoming game or for any other reason (or no reason at all). But I will also carry the memories of our time together with me forever. Indeed, I expect I will think of Suzie when I’m geocaching a little more often than normal now.
A few days after Suzie’s death, her daughters reached out to ask for help with her obituary. It wasn’t long ago that Suzie asked me to help with her father’s obituary, so I knew that she would be pleased to know that I was helping her daughters. And, of course, I was honoured to be asked and was honoured to have helped. Although I would have preferred that there was no need for an obituary…
Suzie leaves behind two strong and devoted daughters and two energetic and lovable grandchildren. Whilst her death has left me in a state of shock and sadness, it is nothing compared to what they will be faced with in the coming weeks, months, and years. But I will be there for them, just as Suzie was there for me when I needed her.
Suzie inspired me with her positive attitude and generous soul. Her kindness was genuine and true, and her friendship was given freely.
SuzieQ: I am honoured to call you a friend. You will always occupy a space in my heart and in my memories and I will always treasure the gift you have been in my life. I love you, Suzie.