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You Were Always the Flame, Never the Moth

February 21, 2018

Dear Mom,

I have been missing you a lot lately. Well, I miss you all the time. I carry you with me everywhere I go. The awareness of you is all around me in everything I do, in the words I speak and the actions I take. Something has been making me yearn ever more for your presence. There is pain in the lives of our loved ones that you would have effortlessly alleviated for them. You were without boundaries and so could exist in many forms for someone; you behaved in whatever way was necessary and it was still your true self. I miss you more today because I know what you did for the people I love. You brought greatness out of them and improved their lives. You carried people’s aching hearts. I am convinced lately that I have to start carrying your torch and am scared of the repercussions if I do not. I am challenged to be a better person for them; to do more for them and inspire great change. I have a lot of people say, “just be there for them, that’s all you can do’’, and I reject this. I feel like I have the ability and responsibility to pull people out of the trenches. I feel deep in my heart I exist to help and by not doing more I will fail the people I love. I am scared that I am not doing enough.

I sat and cried to Joseph tonight. Wondering what I can do. I told him I knew I could be more than what I am. And then it hit me. I cannot do anything outwardly half as powerfully as I can do inwardly. I can be an impeccable me, colored with my flaws and dark and sharp edges, and bring that light. I can be unapologetically me. I can chase these wild dreams and never falter. I can be the best form of myself. I am pretty sure that’s what you were doing for us all. That light attracted and healed all walks of life. You befriended the meek, poor and lost and you, in the same breath, touched wealthy, yet needy, people. You had no standards, just love.

I am certain you are sending me reminders through the newer friendships I have formed recently. People of strength, inner light and peace, lightness and humor, and love. Through these friendships I am reminded to be kind to myself and to be my very best self. It is all I can possibly do. I just keep seeing your smile and laugh. Maybe I can just smile and laugh for people. Maybe not force them to smile or laugh, but surround them with my own brightness and leave them no other choice but to join in.

When you passed on, we asked everyone who came to your celebration of life, to write something about you. It could be one word or many, a story or a memory. I check in with those words often. These words remind me of the power of inner beauty reflecting out and diminishing pain. They will continue to give me strength to carry that torch of yours that I almost forgot about; almost let burn out.


You were always the flame, never the moth

To my second mother,

I’m not quite sure how to begin capturing my thoughts on paper as gracefully as you went about your life on earth. I’ve too many memories to share-so-

Your character: it was inspirational. In a way that is so rare in these modern times-you lived your life according to your convictions. So many of us aspire to achieve lofty goals in the way we live our lives, and as difficult as they are, we abandon these ideals as quickly as we conceived them. You overcame those very difficulties, and all that came along with them with the unfettered modesty that was so characteristically “you”. Your compassion and empathy for others-especially those with less than yourself-drove others around you (me) to strive to be a better person. I am reminded and reenergized by that drive as I recount each memory of you.

My selfless, passionate, talented yet forever humble, giving, role model: I will never forget the way you lived-and that drive to achieve will be ever-present in those you touched. I love you, Suse.


I AM

Suzy Q,

That’s what I called you, even though you didn’t like it. Nothing lit up the sparkle in your eyes like your children and grandson. They were truly your inner spark, they should be proud to have your blood and spirit running through them. You will always be remember fondly and missed terribly.


Kadima on the beach at Brown’s. A contagious smile, laugh, and love of life.

During the last week, I’ve pondered why Susan was so special to me and others. I think I know now. She was the most heart-connected person I’ve ever met and likely to ever meet. It took her passing for me to realize this and so she did not die in vain. She will be a reminder to me to stay heart-connected as long as I live.

A Reflection for Susan-

Light and airy, like a butterfly, gently flowing like a stream or soft breeze. Refreshing, fun-loving, good intentioned, sentimental, kind, thoughtful and dancingly full of life. Whether a spiritual conversation shared or mother-talk or girl-talk, I came away feeling like something substantial had been accomplished in the moments we spent together, something freeing, something healing, something that we both knew bonded us as two outwardly different personalities who shared the same heart. I can easily reminisce in a minute over a variety of occasions spent together and the incredible spectrum of expressions of her bright ,vibrant, youthful face…the rhythm of her words, her playful spirit, deep seated beliefs about life and health, vivid dreams and most of all…her gleeful laugh.


She was a free spirit, full of energy and quick with a smile.

Immediate friend. Loving Mother. Gone too soon.

She was full of sunshine and radiated warmth to everyone she met. She had so much love to give and it will live on through all of you.

I know you will treasure every memory of ice creams, kayak rides, nature walks, and snuggles. I feel very fortunate to have shared some of those times with you all. Thank you for those memories.

You will always be an inspiration to always be who you are and to live life to the fullest.

You are the definition of free spirit, an inspiration to the world, may your spirit live free forever.

To put down on one sheet of paper a memory or thought about Sooze is nearly impossible. She is, and I write is because she is not fully gone, here with us at all times. A simple feeling, a breeze, a shock of energy. She will never be as she was to us because she lives in many of us. And many of us would love to feel the things that she could feel. The spirit that is in her is like no other. And it reflects in the way she lived her life. The way she wanted to. People in this world wish that they had the ability to do that.

Sooze, friends with so many different walks of life and with each person she met making them feel special. I loved every moment with Sooze. The Phish Shows, house parties, and all of the fun times. I think the memory that sticks with me the most is just a simple night in good ole Lake Desolation. Sooze invited us up for dinner. She made tacos. We all sat and ate and then watched American Idol. I never pegged Sooze to be an Idol fan, nor did I peg Jay to be one either. Just sitting there watching Idol together and listening to Jay and Sooze go back and forth about these contestants was way too funny. I have to say I really enjoyed that. Something simple and sweet…just like Sooze. I think about that time a lot. It gives me a real feeling of her.


My memories of Susan are always what a beautiful smile she wore every time I saw her. She was a “natural beauty” inside and out.


Susan…simple…sincere…beautiful smile…great sense of humor…contagious laugh…warm heart…kind…friend…loved.


Susan was a unique bright shining star for all those who knew her and added a new dimension to our lives. She loved her children and grandchild fiercely, was a fine craftsman and artist, had a fondness for the underserved and needy, and did it all according to her rules. Hope we meet again, Suzzie, it was a fine life and I’m better for having known you.


My heart is full of sadness and yet still joyful when I think of Susan. I smile. She is missed. She had a special touch. Her hands were gifted. Her spirit shines brightly and her laugh resonates in the light.