Two years ago a lot of people lost their rock, friend, confidant, and biggest cheerleader. One of those people was Mae.
Sue and Mae were best friends for more than 40 years.
Mae wrote a piece about her friendship with Sue, and it gives me comfort to post it on this two-year anniversary. Mae was with us that longest night. She was also the one we called when we couldn’t be at Shirley’s side in her last moments. Mae was always there when we needed her most—when Sue and Shirley needed her most.
On a personal note: When I needed an extra set of arms to comfort my baby girl while I comforted Sue, Ryan, friends, family, and even myself, she was there for me, too. I’ll never forget that, Mae. Thank you.
What can I say about Sue? I could say the obvious—what everyone else who knew her already knows—that she was vivacious, flirtatious, loving, courageous, outspoken, optimistic, and determined.
She had a heart of gold and could make every man feel like he was the only guy in the room, every woman feel like she understood her every thought, and every child feel like the most important person in the world.
She was the most courageous and determined cancer sufferer, who never saw herself as a victim, but rather as the next “miracle,” surviving by pure determination and will power.
She always saw her cup as half full and was the one others looked to for encouragement as they fought their own battles.
Indeed Sue was all of these things and more.
Sue touched my life as no one else will ever again. She was my best friend for over 40 years.
We met in 1970 when her call for her dachshund (“Here Dink! Here Dink!”) woke me early one morning. Both of us wives of recently discharged military men and neighbors in our Main Street apartments, we quickly became friends.
Just hanging out with Sue was fun and made me happy. We ate together, played together, drank too much together, had sleepovers together, spent holidays and birthdays together, laughed together, shopped together, and raised first our dogs—and then our boys—together.
Her son was mine, and my boys were hers.
We watched football games, went snowmobiling, and spent time on their “farm” together. There are so many happy memories that I couldn’t possibly begin to write them all down.
Sue and I shared secrets that we never shared with anyone else. We both knew we could trust each other with anything. She was the first one I would call with great news and the first one to share my sad events.
When she told me her breast cancer had reoccurred, I was so upset that she came to my house to make sure I was okay. She was always there with the right words, the right gifts, the best hugs! Even though we may not have agreed with the other person’s decisions, we always backed each other. I often wished for her confidence and courage to face the “hard” decisions, rather than take the easy way out.
More than anything, though, it’s the little things I miss most, like the casual small talk on the phone or over a glass of wine: what was happening in our lives, how work was going, what we did last night, what we were doing over the weekend, and what our kids and hubbies were up to.
Though we drifted apart for a while as we both pursued our different lives, we always knew the other was there for us and found our way back to each other quickly. And in the end, we were just where we needed to be.
I loved Sue with all my heart and believe that she loved me, too. The loss of my best friend has had a huge impact on my life, and I miss her every day.
I know that I will never have another friend like Sue. Friendships like we had don’t come around very often, and some people don’t ever get to experience what we had. I was one of the fortunate ones who could say, “Sue was truly my friend.”
Recently I found a birthday card from her. She had written this inside:
… sometimes I feel like we were friends even before we met.
And all I can say is:
What friends have had the biggest impact on your life? Remind them of their special significance today. To friends!