15
Oct
2016
2

A Friendship That Ended Too Quickly

1984-85-stephanies-senior-year-frank-b-kellogg-hs_009I closed the door quietly, not wanting to wake my parents as I knew they’d be asleep. As I walked toward the basement door I thought it was odd that the light was on – my parents were so good at turning off lights when not needed. I headed down the stairs and looked up with a start at the tear-stained face of my mother. My stomach dropped.

“Is it Grandpa?”

She shook her head, unable to speak.

“What’s going on?” I said, fear pervading my insides.

“It’s Sue. She was killed in a car accident.”

“No! No! No!” I screamed as my mom tried to comfort and quiet me.

In that instant, my world changed forever.

♥♥♥

Sue and I before a double date. Here we were feasting on the leftover ice cream from the ice cream pie we made for the dessert. Of course, a lot of the fun was had in the preparation of the date. She was with Lonnie; my date was Tom Marzolf who went to a private school in St. Paul - wowee.

Sue and I before a double date. Here we were feasting on the leftover ice cream from the ice cream pie we made for the dessert. Of course, a lot of the fun was had in the preparation of the date. She was with Lonnie; my date was Tom Marzolf who went to St. Paul Academy – wowee, we thought.

Today is the thirty-year anniversary of the death of Susan Carol Weavers. That October I was in my sophomore year at Bethel College and living back at my parents’ house after living on campus my freshman year. I was taking a required class that explored the arts, if I remember right, and I had been to the Minnesota Orchestra that night as part of the class. I left for Orchestra Hall a carefree young person but upon my return felt the weight of the unexpected – and unwelcome – death of one of my best friends. Besides the sheer horribleness of grief, in the coming months I would undergo a crisis of faith about how a good God could allow someone so young, smart, caring, and wonderful to die.

♥♥♥

I met Sue Weavers when she returned from living in Japan with her family. We became fast friends, and soon I knew I could always depend on her as one who would listen when I was down and who was always up for a new adventure. Though she had traveled and lived abroad, she never lauded her cosmopolitan understanding over us who had never left the country – or even the Midwest. She accepted me for who I was and loved me all the same.

She had gone to the University of Minnesota at Duluth while I stayed in the Cities, and on that fateful night had been out driving with a guy, sitting next to him without wearing a car seat. On her desk back in her room was a letter I had sent her, which would remain forever unopened. I’ve kept her letters, and now when I see her handwriting I’m instantly transported back, hearing her voice and seeing her smile.

♥♥♥

I find it poignant that Sue never finished signing my yearbook...

I find it poignant that Sue never finished signing my yearbook…

This summer when I was back in Minnesota, some of my high-school friends and I went to visit her grave. But we went on a Saturday when the office was closed and none of us could remember exactly where she’s buried. We walked along the rows of gravestones, searching in vain for our friend. “How can I not remember?” I wondered, thinking of the many times I would visit her grave, bringing a sandwich from Arby’s during my lunchbreak from the law office where I worked the summer after she died. After an hour or so, we gave up, feeling the poignancy of what we’d lost by the fruitless search in the cemetery. She was there, but she wasn’t.

Those of us in our high-school group have remained lifelong friends, perhaps because the shock and horror of losing Sue bonded us together as nothing else would. Of course I would rather she lived, but I’m grateful that we have this gift of friendship over the years of people who know us, warts and all. With each other we can descend into shorthand (“I’m spent!”) or pose the normally unaskable questions of each other.

♥♥♥

Our life can change in a moment, as mine did thirty years ago. Sue, I miss you.

Some of the gang at Kara's cabin. Kara (R) and Sue (middle) sitting on the dock and Jill (L) and me (R) standing.

Some of the gang at Kara’s cabin. Kara (R) and Sue (middle) sitting on the dock and Jill (L) and me (R) standing.

Sue and Kara skiing. Remember those big mirrored sunglasses?

Sue and Kara skiing. Remember those big mirrored sunglasses?

10 Responses

  1. Coral

    That was beautiful Amy. I always considered Sue one of my very good friends as well. I remember the day she died and how it rocked my world view. Not long after Paula Thomas died On a trip in China.

    I was reminded that even in my sadness God was there. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Really touching tribute to Sue, Amy. I, too, lost my dearest childhood friend to cancer when she was 31. So sad. Isn’t it amazing, though, how we keep them with us still? Love to you as you remember your sweet friend.

    1. Thank you Lorilee! I can only imagine the pain of a protracted illness like cancer when there are loads of treatments and then the moment (I imagine?) when you realize that your friend and you aren’t going to grow old together. Thank you for your lovely comments. xx

  3. Gail Helgeson

    Thank you for sharing. Beautiful writing about a friend that will always be in your memories. I love this..”She was there, but she wasn’t.” Love that. Made me think of those I have lost. Great post.

  4. Lynn "Schlueter" Schmidt

    Amy,
    What a beautiful remembrance of Sue. I can’t believe it’s been 30 years, wow. I’m so sorry for your loss, I unfortunately know your pain, when Wendy “Peterson” Weber died it really changed me to. Life goes on as we know, but the pain left in our hearts never does. I try to focus on all the wonderful memories. I still hear her laugh, makes me laugh. That’s what we have left of our friends, cherish that. God Bless you Amy.

  5. Linda "Weavers" Sivilotti

    Thanks for the tribute to Sue. I love seeing the pictures and knowing that others remember and miss her too.. If you want to find her grave let me know.

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