One year ago today we lost an angel that was bestowed to us on earth: Susan. People say it gets easier with time, I find it gets more difficult. With every milestone I find myself silently wishing, “I wish Susan were here.” Sometimes I’m sad, sometimes I’m angry. Why my friend? Why did she have to be the one that was taken?
I have come to peace with the fact that I will never know what truly happened that fateful night. All I can do is miss her and remember her. Susan’s mom told us to never forget her… Is that even possible? I don’t think so. She was the light of our lives.
The day that Susan died my wonderful saint of a godmother called me. This is what she said: “Anna, maybe God knew that Susan wasn’t going to have a long life. Maybe he knew that she would be gone before it was her time. He knew this and he wanted to let her meet and influence as many people as she could while she was still here. Even though it was a short time with her, He wanted you to have that special time.” I think she was right.
This is for her…
Her lips came together in the middle like a heart. The outside of her lips curled upwards so it always looked like she was smiling, even when she wasn’t. The color on her lips was always the same, a color that was like a hybrid between a peach bred with a coral. It was her color. Her skin was always a deep golden, even in January. Some said it was her heart showing through her skin, others said she was just that beautiful.
Susan was everyone’s best friend, until she wasn’t anymore. Until she wasn’t anything anymore.
Susan liked to dance and smile. But more than anything she liked to love. She loved him and she loved them. All of them. She showed her love like she showed her teeth when she smiled, wide and unafraid. She wasn’t afraid to tell someone that she loved them. In fact, she told everyone quite often. If they didn’t say it back, she said it again, just to make sure they heard.
It was the summer. The air was hot and thick like summers in Mississippi always are. They baked in the sun so they could look like her: warm-skinned and glowing. They roasted, sticky and wet. They talked about their loves found and loves lost. They didn’t cry, they just laughed. They couldn’t cry, everything was too perfect.
They danced at night and laughed in the morning, remembering the beauty in their lives. They ate pizza as if it had no calories, and laughed out loud. Then they didn’t laugh anymore.
The end of summer was near and they felt it. It was their last bit of excitement before it all began again. They lived harder than they ever had and knew it was all about to change. They knew it was the best summer they would have for some time. They took it all in, danced until their feet throbbed and laughed until their bellies ached.
They all cried, some softly weeping, some loudly sobbing. He sat with the family, where she wanted him to be. They didn’t understand but they cried anyway. It smelled of the roses they brought. They were white. She didn’t get to see them.
Her parents stared at the casket before them as the tears flowed, just as they had before. They had done it all before. They were numb.
They ate for the first time since it happened. The ladies cooked them lunch. None of them looked the way they thought they did. Mascara slipping sideways. They said “thank you” and left. Where were they to go? What were they to do? No one knew. They just drove.
They cried for her. They danced for her. They sang for her. They remembered her. For a year there was a lump in their throats. They tried to go on living, but wished she were there every moment.
Susan was everyone’s best friend.