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Keeping the Faith

susie aruba



Susan’s nomination came in the form of a letter from her younger sister Wendy…

August 2011

Dear Susie,

Today is your two-year anniversary and I am beyond proud to celebrate with you. Your perseverance and determination are contagious. Keep Calm and Carry On.

Two years ago when radiology found your baseball size tumor, your family and friends were all in different stages of crazed hysterics. It was you who kept us all positive, calm and sane (well, mostly sane!). Through surgery that lasted 12 hours, a week in the neurotrauma intensive care (hate those words!), another week in the hospital, and two weeks inpatient rehab, 9 months of feeding tubes, radiation, outpatient rehab and a body that will never be the same, you have found so much to smile and laugh about and never once complained. You always reassured me that it was easier to be in your shoes than ours.

In rehab, we laughed about you bumping into walls like a drunken sailor when you were learning to walk again. We laughed at ourselves for watching “The Sound of Music” for the 800th time together. We decided your tumor needed a name, so we called her The B***h!

On your first trip outside the hospital, in a wheelchair and wearing your Cheap Trick T-shirt you let Papa take pictures. You had the goofiest grin every time the wind hit your face and blew your hair.

Your faith and determination to keep fighting is amazing. We all marveled at all the what-ifs. What if, James weren’t a doctor and hadn’t thought to run a brain scan? What if, Papa and Pat hadn’t moved two blocks away? What if…. You once told me, “What’s the point of life, if you don’t look forward to the small celebrations?”

Your beautiful kids, Emily and Nate, see you live this every day. Just two short years ago, you had surgery. Now, you are showing your kids that nothing can keep you down; volunteering for the PTO, helping with Cub Scouts, being Emily’s Girl Scout leader, attending several overnight camping trips and doing all the everyday mom stuff.

When you said you would walk The Head for the Cure, I was so proud of you I cried hundreds of happy tears. This is your story; you have made it beautiful. You’ve filled it up with what you love and you always remember what really matters. I am endlessly proud to call you my big sister. Happy, Happy, Happy Anniversary.

I love you, Wendy