honoring our friend susan, @whymommy

susan @whymommyI remember so vividly beautiful you standing by the window in your blue dress, Susan. The one that Jess gave to you because it fit you so perfectly and you both knew it was the one.

I remember how nervous you were–how excited you were–how ready you were.

I remember how Curt calmed your nerves in a short, whispered phone call that I barely heard as I said prayers of calm, prayers of strength for you from the other side of the room.

But you didn’t need my prayers, Susan. You really didn’t.

You didn’t need my prayers because you knew what you wanted to say. You knew how powerful your words were and how desperately they needed to be heard.

You knew that you had a message, and you knew that you were not alone. You were speaking for thousands. You were speaking for thousands who walked in your shoes, who will walk in your shoes, who do walk in your shoes.

You were speaking for thousands of mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, and cousins. You were speaking for thousands of fathers, sons, brothers, and uncles whose loved ones experienced very same thing. You were speaking for so, so many.

And, as I watched you on stage, as I held hands with our family of girlfriends and as we smiled up at you, as I watched the thousands in the audience drying their tear-streaked cheeks, as I thought of Jessica who stayed with you backstage beforehand, as I pictured your husband and boys at home, and as I recalled long talks with you, lazy backyard playdates with you, and the tons of advice, support, and love from you, I felt so very proud.


susan @whymommy

 Susan speaking at BlogHer 2010

I felt so very lucky.  I felt so very blessed that you were part of my life, one of my favorite people and dearest friends.

And Susan, though I am angry and heartbroken that you have gone, I am confident that you are now comfortable, pain-free, and at peace.  I believe that now you have answers, that you have hugged all of the angels and saints you’ve read about and prayed to, that you are walking hand in hand with your grandma, and that you’re hanging out with all of your favorite astrophysicists, researchers, and scientists. susan @whymommy

I know that you are already working on something up there–creating some kind of community or showing everyone how to Tweet or how to create the most awesome Pinterest boards everI bet you’re snacking on diet coke and dark chocolate with sea salt and finishing every project you’ve always wanted to finish.  I bet you’re sharing stories about your sweet, smart boys and your amazing husband, and I bet you’re teaching and sharing and learning. And I’m sure there are a bunch of beagle pups at your feet.

I bet you’re making lunch dates with all of the Women in Planetary Science who came before you. I know you are dancing and laughing and rope-swinging with your Mothers With Cancer sisters; I believe you will be guiding and praying for those who continue to fight.

And Susan, I bet that when it’s our turn, when that day comes, that you will be right there at the entrance of those pearly gates to welcome each and every one of us in–your arms open, your smile wide, and your eyes bright. Just like always.

We love you, my friend.  And we already miss you like crazy.  And we will all make sure that no matter what, your fight–the fight of fights–will not be in vain.  

susan @whymommy

susan @whymommy

So what am I doing now–today–to make sure I’m doing you proud, my sweet friend?

Here’s what I’m doing, and I hope that others will join me:

  • I talked. To my kids about cancer. In a way that was not scary but was as honest and direct as I thought they could handle. And I used a book that I have used before and that is familiar to my kids–but a book that is certainly worth revisiting. It’s In Mommy’s Garden written by Neyal Ammary, a childhood friend and talented writer and illustrated by Christopher Risch.  And it’s really well done.
  • I scheduled. My yearly check-up with my ob/gyn. Because I got a notice in the mail that I needed to call in January and I never did. So I scheduled because it’s the least I can do to stay on top of my health and my family’s.
  • I cried. In front of my kids. Cora was home today when I heard the news, so she saw–and knew–how upset I was. And I cried again when Maddy and Owen came home.  They have experienced loved ones’ passing but not recently; they’re just now getting to the age where they understand more.  I think it’s okay–healthy–for our kids to see us cry. Plus, I couldn’t help it.


susan @whymommy
something small: a sweet story about remembering

  • I read. I wanted to know what I should say and how I could best explain Susan’s passing to Maddy, Owen, and Cora who knew her well. So I spent the greater part of the early evening scouring resources for kids. I found fabulous resources on PBS Parents: When Families Grieve And though I know my kids will not be as touched as will Susan’s or their family, neighbors, and classmates, I still wanted to have the words ready in case I needed them.  I printed out the Elmo Storybook, something small, to read to Cora tomorrow while Maddy and Owen are at school; it is a sweet book with a strong, gentle message about focusing on the small–but meaningful–things in order to work through grief.  And I appreciate and will use the language that PBS Parents provides to offer explanations to my kiddos as the need arises. 
  • I laughed. With my kids, with my friends, with their kids. Over silly things like Brady and his puppy pal eating puppy treat ice-cream today, on Brady’s second birthday, because we could. And because we should.  Because life is too short not to.
  • I looked. At the moon. For you. From you.  Never have I noticed a moon so full as we had tonight, Susan, and we all think it’s from you. And we thank you.


Huge, sincere thanks to the many readers who have emailed or tweeted or facebooked me in the last few weeks, offering their words of support and love for Susan. Thank you to the many people who shared their kind words on the @whymommy love fest page.  It means so much to me, I can’t even properly express to you.  More importantly, it means the world to Susan’s family. Thank you.

This has been a difficult time, and though we are continuing the learning in the every day around here, quite honestly, it’s been hard to come back and share it. I do look forward to getting back on track in the next few days, but in the mean time I do appreciate your continued thoughts and prayers for Susan’s family.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Thanks to the talented Amie Adams of Mamma Loves for the insanely awesome photo of tonight’s moon.  And thanks to Susan for giving it to us.




  1. Frume Sarah says

    You were a blessing to Susan as she was to you. May her name always be sweet on the lips of those who, like you, loved her.

  2. says

    I’m bawling my eyes out. That was beautiful. I lost a teacher friend to breast cancer about 6 years ago and now her grown daughter is fighting it. I hate cancer. I know you hate it too. I’m so sorry for your loss, but am so inspired by your love and your actions. I will make my overdue appointment today. I will pray for Susan’s family and friends.

  3. says

    A beautiful post! One of the best I gave read so far. You provided great information too. It made me cry in the gym parking lot. I can’t express how sad it is that she is gone and I didn’t know her like you did. She will be so missed and we are so blessed to have known her.

  4. says

    Oh Amy, I’m so sorry that the world has lost such a wonderful, inspiring, and incredibly loved person…I’m sorry for the pain and sadness that Susan’s family and friends are suffering right now…But I am also sure that her beautiful gifts will remain everpresent. Keep talking about her, keep remembering her and all the joy she brought to so many, and she will never truly be lost. I’ll be thinking of, and praying for you, her other dear friends, and her family…hang in there friend.

    • amy says

      omg Sue you are so right. Do you think we’ll need wifi passwords in Heaven? I always imagined it to be super-strong wifi, no hacking, no passwords necessary. :) xoxo But you’re right. If we need one, she’ll have it ready for us.

  5. says

    Beautiful. Beautiful. Beautiful, Amy. Thank you SO much for giving us all a way to reach out to and feel connected with Susan at the end through the e-cards and the Love Fest page. Thank you for this beautiful post and and for sharing, like you always do, wonderful ways we can reach out to and teach our children.

  6. Brandy says

    Oh Amy, my friend. I have been absent from the online world for a while now and I had no idea that this was happening to Susan, to her family, to you, and to all who loved and knew her. I am so sorry that you are having to go through this. Though I can hear the pain through your words, it seems that you are doing as much right by this situation as you can. I appreciate it because your example is a gentle reminder to those of us who sometimes forget that time is precious….and to put first things first. Hugs to you and to your family. My prayer is that all who knew Susan will be comforted in the years ahead. Love you, friend!

  7. sarah says

    that was so, i don’t know…sweet, and great, and heartbreaking. i cry every time i think of susan. and i hadn’t even met her. i’m so glad i got to “know” her and appreciate the words (and to-do list!) she left behind. thanks for sharing with us.

  8. says

    What an amazing post, sharing such a wonderful life. That moon – when I saw some tweets about the moon and Susan, I was in awe. I believe in angels and I know Susan is one of them.

  9. says

    Amy… thinking so much of you right now. Its just not fair that you have lost two friends to this disease at this point. It’s just not fair. PreventCancer.org is fantastic. They (the founder) has actually called my mom a few times to see how she is doing, if there is anything she can do to help, and just to show support. THAT is pretty amazing! I, too, noticed the moon, I did not think of it how you did, but I will always do so in a different light, now. Sending our love your way.

    • amy says

      Jenny–Love you. Thanks so much for taking the time to read–and write. I know you are crazy busy with your tinies and you are battling the same demon with your mom. Know that although we are far, I keep up on your mom’s Caring Bridge site and have kept you all in my prayers from day one. Cancer stinks–that’s true–but it won’t get us without a big fight, right? xoxoxo

  10. Lauryn says

    I am so sorry for the loss of someone so special. I just want you to know that I shared the IBC foundation site on FB, because every woman should know about this! No one told us and the docs don’t seem to think about it. Oh, one more thing, the moon photo is insanely awesome and gorgeous!

    • amy says

      THANK YOU. thank you, thank you, thank you. For reading, for sharing, for your kind words. It means more than you know.

  11. says

    A beautiful post that inspired me to click on many of the links you suggested– including to learn about IBC– and to skype NOW with my closest girlfriends. Thank you for the wonderful reminder to embrace today. Sending love your way as you continue to heal…

    • amy says

      oh, Shelby. I cannot thank you enough for writing, for clicking, and for sharing the information I shared in this post. It makes my heart smile. xoxo

  12. says

    So sorry! I think the moon is beautiful and so is the way you are dealing with your grief.

    My kids and I are dealing with some grief of our own today and have been for three years. We lost my stepdad, their grandpa, about three years ago in a drowning accident. Today is his birthday. We went on the Bighorn River in his riverboat and fished in 40 degrees and wind. Each kid caught a fish. Thanks to my wonderful husband and strong children, we honored his life today.

    You are honoring your friend. She lives on in you and all she touched and loved. Take care, Amy. Again I’m very sorry for your loss. I did not know Susan, but she seems like a beautiful person.

    • amy says

      Oh, Michelle. I am so sorry to hear about your stepdad. That must have been absolutely awful. It sounds like you and your family honored him in the best way possible today–despite the weather. Thinking of you, my friend, and sending you prayers. xoxo


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *