My Shared Memories of Suezette’s Life
Earliest memory (pre-school) – I locked my older siblings; Suezette, Sherry, and Dan out of the house (on the farm east of Climbing Hill) and then I hid. I don’t remember why I locked them out, but there had to be a good reason. After they found a way into the house and found me hiding in a corner behind the bed, they dragged me out. Suezette and Dan held me down while Sherry spanked me!
One year at the Iowa State Fair, Suezette wanted to ride the Ferris Wheel. It was so tall that from the top seat you could look down on the roof of the grand stands. As they started and stopped the Ferris Wheel to load the seats, the seats would rock back and forth and you felt like you were going to fall out. I didn’t trust the cross bar so I was hanging on to the arm rest and seat back for dear life. When I glanced sideways at Suezette, she was griping the crossbar with both hands and staring straight ahead. Scared to death! After surviving that experience, she never mentioned wanting to ride a Ferris Wheel again.
We rode a Log ride while visiting Sherry in Florida. Suezette had the front seat and got soaked. Her perm was hanging down on her head like little ringlets.
When supper was ready, Mom would have Suezette call me for supper. Susie would walk out on the front porch in our small town and let’er rip. Didn’t matter where I was playing in town, I could hear her calling me. I still can.
Long before Suezette was a Kansas City Chief’s fan, she was a Chicago Bear’s fan. You didn’t dare say anything bad about the Bears. Of course, we did, and she would get fighting mad. I used to kid her about burning her KC Chief’s stuff when they weren’t playing well. On a couple of occasions I think she would have. One year at the State Fair I was able to get Ed Podolak to autograph a KC Chief’s hat for her. She was pleased to have it.
Susie had several elderly friends that through the years she helped out by doing errands like picking up their mail. They enjoyed coffee and card games together.
Suezette would give you the shirt off her back if she thought it would make you happy. She was eager to please, but vulnerable to some who might take advantage of her kindness.
She loved to go places…she was excited to go and excited to share what she did when she came home. You had to be careful about telling her someone was coming to pick her up. Even if it was five hours from now, she would be ready to go before you could say “Jack’s your neighbor”.
Suezette always seemed to have a camera. I remember her having the old flash type that would blind you. She also had a Brownie camera that I think she won as a prize. Later on, she had a Polaroid. She had quite a collection of family pictures. Among them were several photographs of the actor, Lee Majors (Big Valley TV Show Star). I thought he was a member of the family!
She had dreams…dreams of marriage to a tall dark handsome fellow.
Sherry related that one night in bed, during Junior High School, she found some lumps on her body. Thinking it was cancer Sherry pulled the blankets over her head and began to cry. Susie asked why she was crying and when Sherry told her, Suezette began to sing the hymn: “God Will Take Care of You.”
When my kids became too dignified to laugh at my corny jokes, she did.
Suezette learned to give orders during the last eighteen months that she spent at Pioneer Valley Living & Rehab. For the first time in her life she was not being told what to do or where to go. She would tell us what she wanted or needed and of course, we would get it for her. Dan was in her room one day searching through the dresser for something and she told him to leave her stuff alone and sit down! After her recent hand surgery her feet hurt so I was massaging them for her. After a bit she ordered me to stop: That’s enough! she said.
James 4:8a says “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”
When my family returned to Iowa in 1994, I was on a mission for God and our path led here. I had a burden for the rural people and a vision for how to carry it out. The timing of our coming was perfect,…for Suezette. God’s timing is always perfect. Mom and Dad both passed away within weeks and months of our arrival. Suezette was a dependent. She had lived with our parents her whole life and now they were gone.
Christians are not here on earth for our own purposes, goals and pleasure. We aren’t here to fulfill our own visions and dreams. We are here for God’s purpose and for His pleasure. After a time, it began to dawn on me that maybe we were here, in Iowa, for Suezette.
Suezette had special needs. She was a child locked up in an adult body. When both parents died – she became an orphan and has been such for twenty-eight years. Scripture says that, “pure religion and undefiled is to visit the widow and the orphan in their distress and to keep one-self unspotted from the world.” Suezette, the orphan, asked if she could call Deb and me – Mom and Dad. I couldn’t wrap my mind around that and we discouraged her from it. But you know what? God promised to be a Father to the fatherless.
As time went on, I realized that we weren’t necessarily in her life to help her, as much as God had placed her in our lives to help us. To help us learn compassion, humility and love…to be like Christ.
Our brother Dan would come to our house on a regular basis while Suezette was with us. He handled her finances and he came to collect her mail/bills and often brought her necessities like pop, snacks, candy, etc. I remember on occasion, seeing him bringing a basin of warm water to Susie and placing her feet in it to soak. After bit, on his knees, he would gently raise each foot and clip her toenails. Who does that remind you of?
You know, Suezette gave each of us opportunities to do something loving, something Christ-like; to do for someone what they could not do for us. To do something that they cannot repay. Anyone can do good to those who will return the favor, but not everyone can or will do something for those who cannot pay back the deed.
Suezette knew right from wrong and she had a conscience. There came a time when her conscience was so overwhelmed with guilt that she became broken and contrite.* Contrite means to become humbled by guilt and repentant over one’s sin. She came to Deb on her own initiative and spilled her heart out. Deb helped her take it to the Lord.
In her last months/years with us she read her Bible faithfully and listened to Bible teaching on the radio. Jesus said, speaking of the Scripture: “these are they which testify of me.” Scripture also says, that no one can come to Christ unless the Father draw him/her. God the Father was drawing Susie to Himself. The redeemed heart longs for communion with God.
Is He drawing you?
In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. Genesis 3:19
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote a poem entitled A Psalm of Life. The last part of the second stanza says this: Dust to dust was not written of the soul. Dust to dust was written of the body. The Apostle Paul reminds us: We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. 2 Cor. 5:8
The second best thing that can happen to a Christian is death. The best thing is the rapture. The Apostle Paul writes about this “snatching away” in I Thessalonians 4:13-18 and he leaves us with this instruction:
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep (dead), that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent (precede) them which are asleep (dead). For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
...let the word of Christ dwell (take up it’s life) in you richly…
Note: Suezette, eighty years old, was the eldest of six siblings. She passed from this life into the next on January 21st, 2023. This is being posted for family and friends that were unable to attend due to distance and weather.