Celebrating Susie


I’m currently writing a book called, We Will Be Landing Shortly, with the subtitle, Reflections on Being Terminal. The title is a phrase I’ve heard on every flight I’ve ever taken for almost forty years—and it’s always bothered me.

Whenever the flight attendant chants this mantra, I want to stand up and shout, “I don’t want to land SHORTLY! I want to make it all the way to the runway!” But this would only get me arrested by the sky marshal.

Back in the last century, I was a frequent flier. I used my trips as occasions to do a quick life-check. I would ask myself as the plane readied for takeoff if I was ready to go in the ultimate sense of the phrase. If things came to mind that needed attention, I wrote them down and purposed to address them as soon as possible. It proved a healthy discipline.

Susie’s death on Thanksgiving Day is a solemn reminder that we all are on “final approach.” Some of us will have time to get our seatbacks and tray tables in the upright and locked position. Others will crash with little warning and no time to prepare. The one invariable is that every one of us will be landing shortly.

Susan was ready because of how she lived her life every day, in public and in private. I just wasn’t ready to say goodbye so soon. Her legacy is her family and the thousands of people she blessed over the years.She always had open arms, a listening ear, a non-judgmental heart, an accepting nature, an inviting smile, a steadfast faith, and treats for her grandkids.

Susan wasn’t perfect. She never got the hang of gossip; didn’t know how to carry a grudge; couldn’t keep her checkbook closed when it came to others, would accept just about anybody as a friend, and routinely welcomed strangers into our home for months at a time.

I know where Susan is and I’m happy for her and at peace. I expect to join her some day. Maybe then she can explain to me what in the world God was thinking when he left me without adult supervision … and why he let her cut in line in front of me.

Susie, you can never be replaced, and you will never be forgotten. I love you deeply; always have, always will.

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17 thoughts on “Celebrating Susie

  1. Mike, it will be one year since my Mike entered heaven on Christmas day. I was so saddened for you, to hear your dear wife departed for heaven on Thanksgiving Day! I know she, along with my husband are rejoicing with our Savior, but the pain and feeling of loss for those of us left behind is difficult. I have tried to keep up with your blog somewhat since Mike’s passing, as his journey with NHL was so much like yours. I was sorry to hear of your battle with yet a new cancer. May God’s loving arms be your comfort and strength, as they have for me this past difficult year. Deborah Rogers

  2. Thank you, Mike, for sharing these beautiful words – both at the service and on your blog. We are deeply grateful for Susan’s life, and were honored and humbled to share sacred moments with you these past days. You and your family are in our hearts and prayers.

  3. I follow your blog because my Father also struggles with NHL… I am so sorry to hear about your loss. It sounds like she was an amazing person.

  4. Such blessed words Mike. I am in awe of the mysteries of this life that we are a part of…I cannot tell you how much you are an encouragement to me. All I can do is simply say “Thank you”.

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