Our Final Day and a Deal With God

I wonder if she woke feeling any different that day, if she’d had any telltale dreams. We women have our sixth sense about things. But she probably had no inkling that it was her last dawn, at least on this earth. It was a sudden heart attack. Who did she greet on the way out of her building? Who got the last of her smiling gift? Who gave her her last hug, reminded her that she was loved? Susan Irene Fox is not the first blogger I’d known to have passed – she is, actually, the fourth on WordPress – but her death hits close to home. She reached out to me, put me on her prayer list three years ago, in response to a difficult post I put out. I just revisited our emails, the comments and the guest postΒ Single At Sixty she left on this blog, a brave, humble confession of loneliness and the peace she claimed. She was a kind, giving person, one who had nothing to prove but the truth that had transformed her life.

I think of people hungry for life who dance on the edge of death. Adrenaline junkies, athletes, addicts of all stripes who run to meet Goliath and nearly die so they can live again. I am not so brazen. I have felt a generosity upon my life, knowing the ground can slip from under me any moment. I imagine that Susan, had she known, would’ve wanted more time. More time to do the many little wonderful things we choose to leave undone: forgive, hold, kiss, dance, linger. For me, I feel a greater urgency in the writing as I wonder how many hours remain in my ledger. I could travel more, see more of people and the world to say I’ve lived, but I would be just a consumer in the enterprise. I would rather leave something behind, namely, more poetry, which though I am just a vapor will endure until the sun should die. That is a marvelous thought. My breath on the page, a legible love and memories – a great honor.

Honey, if my brain ever ends up sustained by a machine, if you don’t see the tears and recognition in my eyes, if I can’t make your amaranth and tell Tennyson to do his math, you have lost me already. It’ll be just a ghost of me on that bed and I want you to pull the plug. Don’t extend me beyond my time only to leave me a burden, neither living nor dead, without my words. I pick my lane, the freeway stretching North. But in exchange for the Mexican wife you’ve said you would get, I ask for one final gift: my own little pine box. You are so good with your hands. I know, I know. I put you to work to the end. But you’ll be a free man after that. It should be perfectly within the rights of a man to dignify his wife with a final custom home and tuck her away in the mountains. While you’re at it, bury me with a book. I won’t be needing the Bible anymore. I’ll be in it, getting it 3D! It’s not like I can take this blog. How freaked out will my readers be if I wrote them from the Other Side? But I won’t disturb anyone, buried with my nose in a book. I’ll pick it out and put it in the master where you can grab it easily in the whirlwind preparations.

Dear God,

It’s me again. Remember, I’m the one who sends back her plate when it’s not done right. And though I know the cooking will be just right for Goldilocks there, I’m also the one who’ll be bothering all your best writers and asking that you not room me with a fellow Type A. Don’t forget that I’ll be looking for Eve. What a MESS that girl’s got us all into! So how about we make a deal? Give me just twenty more years so I might hold my grandchildren and make sure their mother doesn’t feed them junk, and I will turn my keys in, no questions asked. You are juggling so much at the moment: our presidency, North Korea, the refugees, not to mention the missionaries who’ve been asking for you. Why don’t you take a break from my small affairs, drop me from your radar for a bit. A thousand years is like a day unto the Lord. Why, I’ll be there in no time. And one last thing. Please tell Susan I said hi and bye, that I miss her – and she doesn’t need to save me that seat.




132 thoughts on “Our Final Day and a Deal With God

  1. I’m saddened at the loss of Susan. I lost a very good friend that I talked to everyday , a fellow poet and writer. He was 50. I enjoyed your text , we all want to live to raise our children , that is probably first and foremost but no guarantees. My heart goes out to you on the loss of your friend. A beautiful write Wayfarer.

  2. Amen! This was a very sweet tribute. She was a great lady with a big heart and touched a lot of us here in bloggerville. Our days are never promised, but there is some gladness there too, because I believe our days are actually infinite, life everlasting.

    A while back I realized if I didn’t have much time left, I’d want to spend it all reading and writing poetry and falling in love and I was quite okay with that. It’s not a bad place to be. πŸ™‚

  3. How did you know Susan had died? I’ve had several favorite bloggers drop off the radar and wonder what happened to them.

    Don’t be so hard on Eve when you get to the Great Beyond. All she did is break one silly rule. If not for Eve, we wouldn’t know about apple pie. Adam is the one who tried to hide it and got both of them in trouble.

  4. Thank you, D… felt your love for Susan, your love for your family and your love for us, your readers and friends on this journey. Most of all, felt God’s love for you and me.

  5. Love the way you write!
    Sorry about your loss. My prayers are with Susan’s friends and family.
    It is true how even though we haven’t met them we do get close to fellow bloggers, for we are sharing our hearts!
    So glad to be a part of the blogging community!

  6. You can write me from the other side if you’d like. I’ve a few strange messages from beyond that have led me to the conclusion the people I knew here were only small reflections of a larger pond. Each time we are remembered we live again.

  7. Diana, a lovely tribute to your friend Susan. Sadly, I was not part of her blogging community. When bloggers drop off I wonder what happened. Some reappear & some remain silent. Your deal with God made me think. I’m asking Him to give me 20 more years to know my great grand children. Today, one great grand girl was born, a great grand boy expected in a few days! I’m blessed to still be here and part of two sons & 5 granddaughter’s lives. And now great grandchildren. Life is good. Christine

    • That is very good, Christine. I am happy for you. Yes, I have wanted T to marry earlier than later (projecting more than 10 yrs out). My husband says women wait for the Right Man to come along packaged just right when in fact, they become men after marrying (and then if…) So no need to make my boy wait. =) I wasn’t part of S’ community but I appreciated our time together along with the love and respect I felt from her, and the glimpse into her life. Ripples. We touch one another. In any event, see you no sooner than in 20 yrs? =)

  8. Truly a beautiful post to your friend. My condolences on your loss and I will keep you in my prayers. I lost a good friend several years ago and still think of her often. I can’t sit in the same spot on my old pew in church because she was either in front of me or siting beside me. She passed away on a Sunday after church. We hugged in the morning before service and again at fellowship time. I waved her off saying, “We already hugged.” She told me to give her another one. So we hugged again. That has stuck with me over the years – I would have felt terrible about not giving her another hug. It’s a silly thing, but it holds a lot for me.

    • Wow. Powerful. Thanks so much for sharing. Can never hug or kiss too many times. I am okay. Thank you. I know her readership sorrows. I just hope she has someone to refresh her grave in the years ahead.

    • Hi Linda, I wanted to let you know but I figured you’d hear from Jason. I wasn’t part of her community but I did get the opportunity to know her beyond the blog. She was the real deal, and she sought a life of integrity. Thanks for taking a moment. Hope you and your son are well.

  9. Susan was indeed the real deal. It is hard to grasp she is gone but I know she is in a much better place with our Father.
    Her death reminds us that were are indeed a community with love and affection for one another. Susan had foresight enough to make plans to notify us should anything happen to her, she cared for her WP family that much. She will be missed. Great post Diana! πŸ™‚

  10. Two years before her death my mother asked me to make a box to contain her ashes. It was with mixed emotions and a needed sense of disbelief that I carried out those wishes. I built it of cherry wood and lined it with copper and It must’ve turned out pretty good because the funeral director was impressed.

  11. I didn’t know Susan but she must have been a very special person who touched many lives, as I’ve read many kind words about her from several WP bloggers. Such a beautiful post D, you actually made me sit back in my chair and reflect a bit. Truth be told your posts usually have that affect on me. πŸ˜‰

    Oh please do send down a post or two from heaven if you arrive there prematurely. Now that would shake things up here in bloggerville!

  12. Rest In Peace susan irene fox. I wonder sometimes about those who drop off the radar – break from blogging, ill, dead? I didn’t know susan in the blog sphere – she sounds like a special gal. All condolences to those who ‘knew’ her.

  13. “How freaked out will my readers be if I wrote them from the Other Side?”
    The horror writer in me thinks this line is worth revisiting.
    Otherwise the post is so sombre. I think life is a sad, sad thing to happen to anybody. It is true we have a few laughs, smiles, gifts, some small deeds that create invaluable moments. But our situation as a species strikes terror in my heart, even anger. Knowing that the universe is infinitely vast, that the earth is billions of years old, that peace is possible, yet we are stuck on this planet like prisoners, being devoured by time in only a few decades, even as we engage one another in a state of perpetual war. It is too sad.

    • “The horror writer in me thinks this line is worth revisiting.” I think you’re no. 4 on the list of folks I’ll be greeting from the Other Side. You do realize you can flip the picture you’ve painted? We see the dark only against the light, and love, sacrifice, hope, endurance move us forward even as forces oppose us.

    • I am so sorry, Melissa. I was stunned. I can only imagine how it hit you. Thanks for reading and sharing your heart. I am glad that we can at least honor her and celebrate her integrity and passion together. I will be by when I can.


      • Yes me too. Glad to meet you and know others are grieving her spirit. Love to you my friend

  14. Hi, Very moving post. Especially as it engages with the generalawfulness of life on earth right now: your presdent, and our government, and all those people who seem to have d so much hate in them and have decided that now they are allowed to express it in horrible violence. It is good to share deep thoughts and good things, and if only there was more real community …!

    • Real community. I find this an increasingly interesting question as our social life shape-shifts in the presence of social media – and we are literally in it as we write. In any case, Susan – like so many of us, including me – held her community dear and some of us, from all the corners of the world, dignify her beautiful presence in mourning the space she leaves behind.

  15. Ah, your post makes me weep for a woman I didn’t even know and for all of us scratching at that stone wall, hoping to leave a mark on the world only to find that impermanence is the world and even the sun can’t hold up to that gust of wind that’ll blow it all away. Despite that, I’m there with you, scratching, scratching. Watching my children leave me, one by one, for college, life and love, my husband as his body deceives him, my friends whose eyes were not so lidded yesterday. What the freak is happening? Wasn’t I teaching the kids to swim a minute ago? I have a friend, Jean, who died about seven or eight years ago now. We had met in a screenwriting class when she was already in her 60’s. She had taught drama at F&M College, had a lovely speaking voice and was also a fine writer and upon retiring, she simply lived the drama. Her husband had died 20 years before — they’d met when they were 18 — and she still missed him terribly. Her kids were in varying states of calm and chaos and she reacted to both with equanimity. She’d been raised by a single mom and at the time we’d met, I was unwittingly about to become a single mom. I admired her in ways that I still have yet to understand. She was not a mother figure, because I had a brilliant one of those, but a friend and a teacher who demonstrated through her curiosity, talent, and sheer joy of living what life could be like for me in a few decades if I just kept my outlook fresh. I think about her so often I can’t tell you. That’s the kind of mark I want to leave. Sending love and good vibrations, D. oxo

    • Wow, I love this. My goodness. You remind me of the impact we can have on one another. You leave me wishing I’d known her. Maybe you can morph her as one of your characters. =) I imagine that was a profound relationship also for the pivotal time she entered your life. And I’ve got it here in my hands: all the love and vibrations, P.

      I think your comment has the makings of a good post.

  16. Diana, this post has sent chills down my spine, and it is not possible for me to articulate what you have made me feel. My heart breaks for Susan, and those who are left mourning her loss. Thank you for sharing this news because though I did not know her, I feel inspiration coursing through my veins this morning and a determination to make each moment count. It was the reminder I needed. Today is another opportunity and my only responsibility is to make the very most of it – and I plan to do just that. Thinking of you and sending lots of love.

    • I am really grateful for this beautiful card you left me, Tanya. Your heart overflows and I’m touched and mutually inspired to make the day count. We are incredibly dense, aren’t we? What does it take for us to take this responsibility? We are dulled to the news of tragedy and death, the homeless at the intersection. And I love how Van put it on this board, that the affection…as well as the loss…are real here in this thing we call blogging.


  17. I love your simple conversations with God. My Dad died when I was 6 years old and there’s never a day where I don’t talk to him and the Big Guy. And the conversation is constantly questioning what is going on. There is so much we don’t know about death and life. All I know is if you believe in eternity, it’s happening now.

    • So sweet and poignant. You have been through the mill, my friend. And you’re right. There is a great deal we don’t know. I love CS Lewis’ take on it, how we can employ a “sanctified imagination”.

  18. Hmmm! Sounds like a prompt for a huge bucket list–that is if everyone responds with only one request “before I die.” The eulogy was a grand introduction BTW. πŸ˜‰

    • I have a thing against B Lists. Just the sound of it bugs me, being sensitive to words and the way they graze my ear. But it’s a nice thought, Beth – one I probably would’ve taken up a few yrs back. Thx for being here.


  19. A moving tribute D., leaves us all asking the right questions regarding the appreciation of life and for the simple, beautiful love we receive from the people around us (physically and those in the cyber world). Life is made so perfect when we can positively touch each other in the ways Susan and others are able to. Take care ~

  20. I feel your heart in these words. They make me cry. You love so tenderly and with a sense of humor. I’m sorry your friend died. Your vulnerability to our fragile time spans on this earth makes me think. Your saucy conversation with God makes me smile.

  21. As I read your post I became present to the many ways one life can touch another. One person can inspire us, open doors to let light in and leave us different than before. It is always a challenge to say goodbye and also to think of ourselves facing the end of our own life journey. When I am letting go I choose a part of the person I love to live on in me. This is my way to honor them. When I take action in this person’s name I always smile thinking of the way he or she showed me how. We need each other. Thanks for capturing the human connection.

  22. To lose a good friend is always difficult.

    But to cherisch the memories Will make Your friend is there for ever.

    This blogpost makes Your friend still around.

    Kind regards,

  23. Holistic Wayfarer, dear Diana, I am sorry for your loss. I lost my good friend last week, and today it home when the pressure of raising a teenager pressed, and reaching for the phone; she’s gone on ahead to home. With that said, realizing the special seasons we share in each others lives, I came looking for you. Tracking the in and out of WordPress to say, “Thank you”. You were one of the first 5 who embraced my bit of writing and welcome in the WP fold. I haven’t forgotten, ” meet 5 new friends daily ” on your blog ” advice. I am always humbled when you stop by to visit me in my writing life. I am honored to call you neighbor and encourager in my life. God bless you and your family with long life! See you at Home. . You can introduce me to your friend Susan, and I will introduce you to mine:)

    • How sweet, Denise. Oh my, my deepest condolences. And that you reached for the phone. =( That is remarkable that you sought me out at this time. Yes, I remember the 5 new daily. Keep writing and continue to light your corner with the truth and grace. And you bet I’ll introduce you to all my friends that day.


  24. You always make us think and chuckle at the same time. Today’s food for thought: How do we want to be remembered? How do we remember those close to us? It is (still) amazing to me that the internet and technology brings friends (we would have only met in heaven) into our lives and our hearts today. Susan is missed!

    • Oh my, Charlotte. I am so sorry to hear. I am on a novel called All the Light We Cannot See. On the threshold of WW2, a blind girl, 12, smells the (German) gasoline in the air where “everything radiates tension…Didn’t she presume she would live with her father in Paris for the rest of her life? That every year, on her birthday, her father would present her with another puzzle…and she would always know many paces from the front door to the bakery (forty)…” They didn’t know what was drawing near: forty bombs per aircraft, 72,000 pounds of explosives.

      Sorry to be depressing. :/
      Maybe this will make you play some sassy role you never dreamed…

  25. I’m very sorry for your loss. Although I don’t know Susan, the death of a beloved blogger and writer is saddening. But I’m so happy to know she’s at rest with her King! You wrote a beautiful piece in memory of her. May our words live on and inspire always!

My Two Gold Cents in the Holistic Treasury

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