In Memory of Sue

My sister in law, Sue, died of breast cancer two days ago.  I wrote a poem about it, but before I post it, I want to say something about her.  She was stronger and braver than any other woman I have personally known.  She loved her husband with a vengeance and  the rest of her family too.  She loved to take pictures and would include them in letters she would send to the people she cared about and I was one of the lucky recipients of those letters many times.  She had amazing red hair and a killer smile and was typically the last one off the dance floor. She loved to garden–to plant things and help them grow and even that she shared with others.  There are beautiful purple Crocus flowers that bloom in my yard every year because I had once told her that I wished I could grow saffron in my backyard because it was so expensive. I didn’t know saffron came from Crocus flowers…I do now. (Thanks Sue) When you talked with her, she would listen and she would remember the things that you said. She was a believer, not in any religion, but in life.  She lived it up until she simply couldn’t live it anymore and then went to sleep forever and I know that I speak for many people when I say that she will be greatly missed.   As I reflected on her life and death, and how I felt about it, this poem came to me:

One Last Embrace 


Grieving, I sleep and fall into a dream.

She is there in her garden.

Not sick and weak and dying but

Healthy and strong and living.

Her red hair golden in the sun–

Peaceful and happy.

She turns to me and asks,

“What do you need?”

I say, “I need to know why—why this, why now, why you?”

Smiling she says,  “There’s no answer.

It simply is what it is, but what do you need?”

“I need to know you are okay” I say,  “and not suffering—at rest.”

”Deep down, you know I am,” she answers and asks again,

“What is it that you really need?”

Suddenly, tears come and with them, the answer:


“I need one last conversation, one last laugh, one last embrace.”


Standing and putting her hands on my shoulders, she lovingly says,

“We’ve already had those. We just didn’t realize it at the time and it’s okay.”

Waking, I knew that it was, or at least it would be…in time


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Zoe
    Dec 13, 2008 @ 20:57:53

    My dear friend. Holding you close during this time of grief. Love you.


  2. mary a. kaufman
    Dec 18, 2008 @ 04:42:22

    “I need one last conversation, one last laugh, one last embrace.”

    Your words will be with me for some time to come. There isn’t a time I say farewell to a long-time beloved friend, or anybody dear to me and do so with the knowledge I shall not see them again for some time, but that I am aware: it may be our last chance to “love, laugh and share the joy of living. There is little I can say or write to make your hurt any the keener, but your words have helped to strengthen me.


  3. mary a. kaufman
    Dec 18, 2008 @ 04:43:53

    good grief. I did not mean to use “keener”. that’s awful. I meant to say something like, any the lighter.


  4. notabarbie
    Dec 23, 2008 @ 22:52:48

    Thank you Zoe for your words of comfort.
    Thank you Mary for your encouragement and for giving me a giggle too 🙂


  5. Angie_K
    Dec 27, 2008 @ 04:17:58

    Hi NotaBarbie,

    I ran across your site when I googled “I’ve made my life about religion”.

    I’ve been reading with great interest. I’ve struggled with “church” life for a few years now. I’ve attended on and off but left for good only a couple of months ago. I do still hold the base of Christianity as my faith but I feel the church is far from what Christianity should be.

    I simply wanted to offer you my condolences. I am very sorry for your loss.

    My sister survived breast cancer. My Dad and my brother-in-law lost their fights with lung cancer. All these things combined with the complete annoying and obnoxious behavior of my so called church family and friends over the last few years has been the catalyst of why I left the church.

    I know it’s not the same as laying down your faith and walking away… but I think that I can relate with you on certain levels.

    I’ve enjoyed reading your blog. Thank you for being real.



  6. notabarbie
    Jan 17, 2009 @ 11:20:19

    Zoe, I’m sorry I haven’t written much…so many things going on…I haven’t forgotten you though. I’m going to email you soon. Again, thank you for your words of comfort.


  7. Zoe
    Jan 20, 2009 @ 07:57:18

    I always look forward to hearing from you, when ever you are able. You take care of you. 🙂


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