Saturday, September 10, 2011

Farewell, Mrs. Sue

I'm going to a memorial service today.  A family friend passed away a few weeks ago from cancer at the too young age of 52. 

We called her "Mrs. Sue" because her sister-in-law (a.k.a "Miss Sue") also had the same name, so we needed a way to distinguish between the two Susans. 

Here's how her obituary reads:
"Susan was the beloved wife and best friend of Ray for 29 years and the cherished mother of Andrew, Simon, Carly and Oliver. Deeply missed by her mother Liz and sisters Jane (Marty) and Carol. Dear daughter-in-law of Dorothy and sister-in-law to Susan (Steve) and Steven (Alison). Aunt to Chris, Graham, Derek, Claire, Paul and Erin. Predeceased by her father Joe (2008) and father-in-law Fred (2003). Treasured friend to many, she will be missed by the countless people that she touched throughout her life.

Susan was born in Peterborough and spent her childhood in Brockville, Ontario. She graduated from the University of Toronto in 1981 with a degree in Pharmacy and in 1983 with an MBA. After traveling through Europe in 1985 with her husband Ray, they moved to Lindsay to join the family business and raise a family.

Susan’s interests were diverse. She loved travelling, cooking, mountain biking, running, snowboarding and reading. She was an avid gardener and long standing member of the Fortnightly Club.

She was passionate about physical education and fitness for all children and spearheaded the Alexandra School Gymnasium fundraising campaign. Susan devoted herself to launching her four children and had just begun to focus her energy upon herself when breast cancer struck in 2009. She took on the challenge of beating the disease with determination, her big smile and a positive outlook. Sue maintained her characteristic organization, grace and dignity throughout. She was a formidable Scrabble player to the end. Susan will be missed for her energetic spirit, generosity, intelligence and compassion. She embraced life and lived it large.

She was amazing."

As far as I am concerned, this is the best kind of obituary to leave behind.  One that describes a life lived large and passionately and as far as I can tell, without wasting any time and fully enjoying all of the opportunities for adventure that came her way.  It's something for which we all should strive.

While we will all miss Sue and no one can deny what a tragedy it is to have lost her, she certainly was an amazing person and all our lives are richer for having known her.

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