"I do not claim that I can tell a story as it ought to be told. I only claim to know how a story ought to be told." -Mark Twain


Tell All Tuesday--Friends

What a week it has already been, and it is just Tuesday.
Yesterday we got about an inch of snow and the school where I teach did not have class. (That town got a couple of inches.)
Keep in mind this is Oklahoma and we can deal with unrelenting heat waves, drought and tornadoes, but we buckle when it comes to snow. We do not have dozens of snow plows waiting to clear the highways. We do have a few, but it takes a while to clear. And in the meantime we Okie's drive like crazy folk!

Now on Tuesday I am having parent/teacher conferences at school this afternoon and evening after a day of classes. Sometimes those go well, and sometimes they can be a little challenging. I am hoping for good ones!!

After I get out of parent/teacher conferences I am going back home and meeting up with one of my sons and we are headed out to our former hometown in the furthest north town in Kansas.

It will take us till the wee hours of the morning to get there. Even worse, is the reason we are headed out to drive all night.
We are going back to pay respects to our friend Susie, who lost her fight with brain cancer on Friday night.
Susie, with my son Coulter hugging her, and two of Coult's best friends...all former lifeguards for Susie. This was a couple of months after her diagnosis.
To say Susie was special is the furthest thing from cliche'. She in fact was SPECIAL
I have met a lot of people through my years and I have never, ever met anyone as GENUINELY kind and sweet as Susie. I know there are a lot of people that try to act like they are kind and sweet, but there was no acting in Susie.
She taught at the early elementary level for 19 years and managed our towns aquatic park for 15 years. As one of my daughters pointed out, on any given summer day, Susie was dealing with enormous amounts of "pool rats" (as the lifeguards dubbed them....children that use the pool as a baby-sitting service).  In addition she was dealing with a dozen or more teen age lifeguards as well. All five of my children worked for her, and some worked for her for five years. None of them can ever think of one single instance where Susie lost her temper, was aggravated, or even put off by anyone. 

Each child she met could count on her. Whether it was at school or at the pool, they knew Susie was a safety net. A very, very loving safety net. She did not just teach them at school and guard their lives at the pool, she single-handedly spoke to their hearts and truly loved on them. 

A giant get-well card outside the aquatic park last summer. It was the first time in 15 years that Susie did not run the pool.
I spent large parts of my summer at the aquatic park as well, soaking up the sun. There were many times I would see a child acting up or causing trouble. I would say, "Just kick them out for the day." Susie would always say, "No, no. I'm sure they are sorry. I'll just go talk to them."  And she would. she would put her arm around them, and look them right in the eye. She was so soft spoken and she hugged them as she encouraged them to make better choices. I could not even begin to estimate the thousands of children that have had a smile and a hug from sweet sweet Susie.

Susie had four children which were the same ages as my five. We have gone to so many ballgames, banquets, concerts and school events together.  We would leave school and oh-so-often find ourselves at the grocery store together looking for something to cook (quickly) for our broods.  No matter what, Susie had time to smile and talk in her soft, sweet voice.  Everything about my life included Susie for 17 years. We went to all the same places and shared many friends. I taught her children, she employed mine. I cannot imagine my little Kansas town without her.

A collage I put together of a benefit the lifeguards put on for Susie.
My heart has been heavy after I got the call on Friday night that Susie died surrounded by her family. I knew the time was coming, but a part of me just kept thinking that "she is SO good, that God will leave her here to continue to be His ambassador."  His plans were not my plans, and most of us that knew her feel that God has called one of his true angels home. She was sent here to teach us all about love. UNCONDITIONAL love. It did not matter who you were or where you were from, or how you looked. Susie treated everyone the same. She made each person feel like they were THE MOST special person in her life.

As I called each of my "grown" children on Friday and relayed the news of Susie's homecoming, each child began to cry. I clung to the phone and cried with each of them.  I told my Hubs later that that was a testament to Susie's worth. Five grown children crying hard over the death of a non-relative. We each feel we have lost someone special. 

To say Susie touched our lives would also NOT be cliche'. She not only touched our lives, she found ways to make us each better people. 

We have a little saying at our house that we call the "Susietude".  When we catch each other being catty, or not-so-kind about anyone or anything, we say, "Do you need to get the Susietude?"  It stops us in our tracks and makes us think.

Tomorrow morning I will be with, (my guess is), most of the town of Hiawatha, Kansas, as we gather together to memorialize our good friend Susie. 

I can only imagine how happy the angels in Heaven are to welcome one of their own....Home. 

This collage by Deb Christian

This is a link to Susie's "Praying for Susie" FB page. Check it out to see how much happiness one person was able to bring to SO many!


  1. How honored you are to have known such a wonderful person. God knows exactly who to put in our lives. It sounds like she touched so many people and God has called her home now. As hard as it is to say good-bye, we rejoice because she is HOME! I keep listening to a song on K-Love, not sure who sings it but the lyrics say something about, this is not where I belong, this is not my home.

    Hugs to you during this time.

  2. Anonymous2/17/2012

    ♪♫ This world is not my home,
    I'm just a passing through.
    My treasures are laid up,
    somewhere beyond the blue.
    The angels becon me
    from Heaven's open door,
    and I can't feel at home
    in this world any more.♪♫
    Lori, I'm so sorry for everyone who knew Susie that you've lost her, but I'm so happy that Susie is away from the pain she's lived with since her cancer got bad.
    She's not only in Heaven, she's in Jesus's arms with her head on his shoulder! She is HOME!
    We all learned from Susie--even those of us who never met her--and will be better for it.

  3. This should have been read at her funeral. She sounds like an angel of God...especially if she didn't kick kids out of the pool!


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