Farewell to a dear friend

I’m blogging a week and a day late because I’ve had quite a lot going on, some good and some unfortunate.

The good is that my business is taking shape. I’m in talks to sign my second client already and I’m attending a conference in Chicago on Friday that I hope will open some more doors for me. I’m breathless and excited about all of it, even if I’m a little afraid because this is uncharted territory for me.

The unfortunate is that one of my spouse’s best friends, Suzannah Jones, passed away over the weekend. She texted my spouse two weekends ago to tell him she was going into hospice care, and we were absolutely devastated. Then the week went by and I was anxious about when we would get to see her. We did on Saturday, around noon; she passed away that night. She was 36.

Suzannah was, perhaps, the most joyful person I’ve ever met in my life. She’d had her ups and downs, but she came out of everything laughing. Two years ago, her husband noticed a mole on her arm that looked weird and encouraged her to go to the doctor. She did, but by then, the melanoma had metastasized to her lungs.

She spent two years in treatment and if she ever had a down moment (and I’m sure she did), I never saw it. She called the cancer Frank, mostly, “F*cking Frank.” The times we met her for dinner, she was joyful as ever, laughing that loud, unabashed laugh whose sound I pray never leaves my auditory memory. A “ha-ha-haaaaa” that swung up into the air and stayed there.

Suzannah and my spouse worked together at his first job out of college, a healthcare consultancy in DC. She was his cube-mate and quickly became his first work wife. She even hemmed his pants and replaced buttons, for the love of God. She was selfless and so damn funny. She sidehustled at the DC Improv because she loved to laugh so much.

I’m cautious to say that I have regrets in life; sure, there are things that I wish I’d done differently, but I try not to regret anything because I believe everything happens as it should (not “for a reason,” per se, just, as it should). But I get so close to saying I regret not going to coffee with her because she was so pleasant to be around. My answer to that feeling is that, if I’d gotten closer to her, I’d feel even worse about her absence. That’s probably a terrible way to think about it, but it works for the state that I’m in now.

Her family will be sitting shiva for her for a couple of days. No, they’re not Jewish, but she liked the idea of loved ones getting together to laugh (and do Fireball shots). When her brother said this, I immediately thought of that awful Associated Press misquote:

“I’ve been to their homes where they sit and shiver,” the AP quoted the sheriff as saying.

But what he actually said was “I’ve been to their homes where they’re sitting shiva.”

So, we’re gonna sit and shiver for an amazing woman who was taken away entirely too soon. And I can hear her laughing now.

(The PSA portion: Please get annual or semi-annual skin checks at a local dermatologist. Wear sunscreen and avoid excessive sun exposure. Cancer is no one’s fault, but please be vigilant about your body.)

2 thoughts on “Farewell to a dear friend

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