Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Learning How to Say Goodbye

Hello Friends:

There on my sidebar of blogs is "Toddler Planet."  It has not been updated for year because the author passed away one year ago today on Feb 6, 2012.  I haven't yet been able to bring myself to remove the link, but I think the next few days will finally see that happen.

I've been watching it slowly fall lower and lower on the list, wondering why I couldn't remove it.  Wondering if this was me in denial, or some kind of weird homage, or what.  Grief is a strange thing.

Sue died of inflammatory breast cancer, and left behind a husband and two children, as well as a legacy of friends, coworkers, her blog, and much more.  It is so cliche to say 'inspiring' but if you take a look at just the last few posts on her blog, you'll see what I mean.

She had a very realistic view of chronic illness that I'm sure a lot of us understand all too well.  She didn't candy coat the difficulties, the pain, the sense of loss.  But she was able to maintain a sense of healing and hope that resonated with me.  We know how tough it is to be sick, but the truth is that healing is always there, even up to the very last minute of the very last day.  There is healing that happens.

I am daunted by the incredible flood of responses she received both towards the end of her life and after she passed.  It brings the pain and loneliness of illness into stark relief.  Mental illnesses (say depression in particular) drive us into isolation, away from friends, and into our homes and sometimes bedrooms, not to emerge for who knows how long.  We desperately desire to know that there are others out there who still know we exist, and still care, but we lack the ability to reach out.  Sue's life poses a challenge to keep trying even when the pain is severe - it is inspiring, but the challenge remains daunting.

It is my only real homage to be able to say to her that I still think of her, and that how she lived, and died, makes me want to keep on trying.  I do think she'd be honored by that.  I would be honored should anyone ever be able to say that of me.

Your Hostess With Neuroses
Image credit/info: Susan's avatar picture, taken from her blog "Toddler Planet"

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