Friday, November 21, 2008

Gone But Not Forgotten

My friend and neighbor Susie passed away two years ago. Another tragic case of misdiagnosis: after more than a year of strange, seemingly unconnected symptoms, she finally found out she had cancer. And she died ten days later.

Susie was an odd, sad, lonely person, but very kind and big-hearted. The first year I lived here, we discovered our birthdays were a week apart (in May), and every year we traded birthday gifts in addition to holiday gifts.

She was a much better gift-giver than I was; after she died, we found most of my gifts to her still in their original bags or packaging. I, on the other hand, have used and enjoyed virtually all the gifts she gave to me. This heating pad is one of my favorites. It's about ten years old now, I guess, but I put it in the microwave for 2-3 minutes and it's just about the only thing that relieves my back pain. It's not electric; I don't have to worry about burning down the house. I've learned not to over-heat it. And I think it's the best heating pad in the world.

Susie was also a huge gadget-hound. She had every imaginable tool and gizmo and gadget. I teased her about it all the time... and yet, she never hesitated to lend them to me!

After she died, I (along with her brother and her only other friend) discovered that she wasn't just quirky or idiosyncratic; she was profoundly mentally ill. I suppose a professional would call her "high functioning" or something, because I can honestly say we had no clue about the scope and depth of her problems.

Because I seem to use her wonderful, clever gifts so often, I think of her almost every day. I don't know if there's any kind of afterlife, or any kind of connection between that world and this one. But I think I learned some important lessons from Susie, just in time to do me some good. I hope she has some way of knowing that, and that I'm grateful, and that I miss her.


josh williams said...

I lived next door to Susie as well, never really got to know her and was surprised to hear of her passing, but she always seemed to have a good karma for the lack of a better word. She was a neighbor I did not know but was happy to have as a neighbor...I dunno, gizmos are pretty cool.

tim's wife said...

I just love a "non-conformist"!!! Her uniqueness
certainly made her memorable,
it seems.