A Letter From Michael Studley:
My family and I are having a “walk on the beach” in memory and honor of my best friend, Sue. We are officially calling it SuesDay Beach Walk because while Sue was still with us, Kathy, Eleanor and Andrea would come by every Tuesday and sit with Sue, and Tuesday became SuesDay !
Thank you all for the ongoing support for my family and me. Some of you knew Sue, some of you know me, some know us both and some know one or more of our kids. Sue and I have 6 kids in our blended family. Sue and I are so much alike that our 6 kids could be blood related…. It is funny how much alike they all are – and how they look out for each other too.
For those of you who did not know Sue – Sue was the true definition of an angel. Sue’s glass was always not even half full – rather full. She was a quick witted, vibrant, funny, happy, intelligent, patient, motivated, fiercely independent, confident, competitive, passionate, warm, gorgeous woman with an infectious laugh and a beautiful, striking smile. Her goal in life was to be a good mother to her kids, a caring relative, a warm best friend, a loving wife, a cool grandma, and especially a dedicated, hardworking, compassionate special education teacher. Her students and fellow teachers meant the world to her. Sue met her calling as a special ed teacher.
For those of you that do know Sue – I know you would agree 100% with how I tried to come close to describing what a wonderful person Sue was – and how she will sorely be missed by us all.
Sue had progressive supranuclear palsy or PSP for short. It is a very rare brain disorder with no known cause … and no known cure. Sue and I went to over a dozen specialty neurologists and had dozens of obscure tests over a period of 2 and a half years before the disease was accurately diagnosed. When you go home and google psp – you will have a better understanding of this debilitating, horrific disease and what Sue has gone through for the past 6 years, 3 months and 4 days.
Sue was my best friend, my partner, my confidant, my rock, my voice of reason, my soulmate, the person whose trust was absolute, whose love was unconditional, and my sidekick who would actually read all the directions/instructions so we could build whatever we were building – once. Whether we were building a book shelf, a cd case, a wrap around desk… or a home – Sue and I were toe to toe every single step of the way. She was not intimidated by – rather relished hard work… sweeping up piles of garbage, hammering sub-flooring, sanding, whatever it took.
Sue loved the beach… the surf the sand and a good book ! We would go to the beach year round – however summer was our favorite. Most of our vacations were spent somewhere there was water and sandy beaches, our annual trek to Montauk included. We always had tons of fun in Montauk. How could you not with 40 – 50 close friends and family. Sue was always up for a new adventure into the unknown. You should have seen Sue driving the can-am when we were taking our class to get our motorcycle licenses. By the way – I flunked my written test the first time – of course Sue passed the first time with a 100! Fyi – We drove to Maine and back on our trike – what a blast !
Sue did not have a selfish bone in her body. Every second she was looking out for everyone else. As the disease got worse Sue was not able to do anything for herself. What you and I take for granted, walking, washing your hair, getting dressed, doing the dishes, scratching your nose, and so many routine daily activities, Sue was not able to do. During our many conversations she would cry and be upset about how much work I had to do – because she couldn’t help……Sue never once complained about how much pain she was in every day – She was only upset that she couldn’t help or do anything.
A very special thank you to Eleanor, Andrea and Kathy for coming to visit Sue as often as you did. Sue really looked forward to you coming to see her. Thank you to Lois, Lillyanna, and especially Christine who watched Sue over the last several months. Thank you also to Father Chris and the many St. Joseph’s parishioners for their prayers and support.
There are certainly no guarantees in life…. And life can be very short… and things happen that will never make any sense – I am acutely aware that everyone has their own bucket of stuff… between Mary K, Schmitty, John, MaryLou, Joe, Grace, little Mary Victoria, the horrific tragedy Tommy went through, my brother in law Michael’s multiple surgeries, Sue’s brother and his bout with cancer, not to mention the problems Sue’s best friend since brownies has been and is going through,…. and the list goes on with our extended family and friends who have had their own pain and suffering.
Please grab every day like it could be your last – because it could be… please tell that special someone in your life that you love them ……….and hold their hand … to quote a passage from a recent novel I read : “Cherish and take care of what you value, Happiness is fragile. Appreciate every moment and do everything you can to protect it. The rest of life, in a sense, is background noise.”
And lastly – don’t be sad with Sue’s passing – be grateful you knew her and never forget her incredible smile, her warm personality and the lasting impression she made on you.