|From The DC Moms|
There are some issues that are so laden with emotional feelings, either so full of grief OR so full of joy that it's difficult to speak of them. There are some things so big that to put these thoughts and feelings into mere words is difficult. But I'm going to try anyway.
Today is the anniversary of dear Susan Niebur's death. She was an energy, a life force in this world that brought comfort and calm to many around her. I feel so much grief in her death AND so much joy in having been even a very small part of each other's lives.
I barely knew Susan in real life. I started reading her blog shortly after her first bout with cancer ended. I first knew her as just a regular person. There were occasional references to a past illness but I didn't put 2 and 2 together for a while, so to me, she was a mommy blogger who also blogged about planetary science issues. I first met her in person at the thrift store ! It's always fun to run in to another blogger and she had her two sweet boys in the cart with her.
Over the years as I read her blog regularly and commented, we would e-mail back and forth about being from the South, or a Southern author that I thought she might know, or some other minutiae.
When Susan shared on her blog that she had converted to Catholicism, I was floored. Because when you are part of a faith tradition that you love, but struggle with, it is incredibly encouraging and validating when someone you admire chooses that faith. Susan needed our Church and the parish family she found became a great source of strength and comfort (and still is) for her and her family. God Bless Susan's friend who first mentioned our faith to Susan and invited her to come to Church. What a tremendous gift.
When Susan's prayer group held a Novena of prayers for her, I had a really powerful prayer experience. I felt weird about it, but I wrote her and shared it with her. I'm so glad I did.
Although Susan is gone from this world, she is not gone from my heart. As the priest mentioned at her funeral, we can now call on Susan in heaven to intercede on our behalf. I do that regularly, most often in moments of mothering crisis, and I ask Susan and the Blessed Mother to intercede on my behalf and help me get through these next five minutes ! There have been times in the past year where I felt I had gotten a message from Susan. A song that was played at her funeral, Give Me Jesus, came on a Pandora radio station I was listening to right at the very moment I was getting frustrated about something. That happened a couple other times, even though I never "Liked" the song on Pandora and I've listened to that radio station a million times and it has never come on. (Although now I consider it one of my personal anthems).
My daughter, Beezus, is receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation this afternoon and I'm getting a mammogram today. Both of these things are completely random coincidences but represent such strong connections to Susan (for me) that they serve as a comfort and reminder that she is still with us.
In Susan's honor today, I have made a donation to the Alliance for Childhood. The Alliance for Childhood is an organization that promotes play in childhood, and that's something that seemed to be special to Susan too. In Susan’s memory, I have also contributed to furthering her legacy through a contribution to the Inflammatory Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
Susan's writings still help me remember to stop and smell the roses - or more appropriately stop and play with the children or look at the stars (and planets). She will remain forever in my heart. Her beloved husband and boys, her friends and family, and all who loved her will remain forever in my prayers.