Friday, March 5, 2010

An Appreciation of Susan Cruickshank's Life:

Looking back over the years I remember going to Susan’s 21st Birthday party in the 1970s.  Then, in the summer of 1986 I came to Susan and Don’s wedding.  The service took place in Ealing Abbey, and the reception was held at a hotel on Richmond Hill.  It was a very happy occasion.
I remember when Susan achieved a BSc in the mid 70s.  She said she would not normally be using the letters after her name, except for one occasion she had cause to write a letter to her bank manager about an issue with her account.
It was with concern I learned of Susan’s illness at the start of the new millennium.   I prayed for her, and I got my church to pray for her.   After receiving treatment the illness seemed to have been dealt with.
I always enjoyed meeting up with Susan and Don and their two boys, Jonathan and David.  I would often see them around Christmas time at Ninette and John’s home. 
In the autumn of 2008 I went to visit Susan and Don and Jonathan at their home in Chelmsford, Essex.  I had Sunday lunch with them.  Afterwards we went for a walk in the park with their dog called John Boy (as in ‘good night John Boy’!).   Later on I was given a lift to Chelmsford Station so that I could catch the train home.
Looking back on that Sunday afternoon in the autumn of 2008 I am so glad I went to see them when I did.  Shortly afterwards I learned to my and everyone else’s dismay that Susan’s cancer had returned.  Again I got my church to pray for her.
I received e-mails from Ninette updating me on Susan’s condition.  It was distressing to learn that the treatment for cancer had affected her optic nerve, and she was temporarily unable to see – with the possibility that she might go permanently blind...
Susan was moved to University College Hospital in London.  At the time I was working in the Pimlico area.  In my lunchtime I got the Victoria Line to Warren Street to visit Susan in hospital.  I was not sure as to how I would find Susan, in the light of her illness.  However, I was pleasantly surprised to find Susan in quite good spirits considering her circumstances.  I would have liked to have spent the whole afternoon chatting to her, but I had to think about getting back to work.  In spite of the problems with her optic nerve she was just about able to make me out.  I would leave the hospital after seeing Susan feeling positively uplifted.
I recall last visiting Susan in March 2009.  Just over a month later I received an e-mail saying Susan had passed away.   I went along to her funeral in Chelmsford to say good bye.
What I particularly remember about Susan is that we could discuss controversial matters of politics without getting into a heated argument.  As we all know politics and that sort of thing can arouse strong and passionate feelings.  Yet, with Susan it was possible to calmly discuss all the different viewpoints about a controversial issue.  On one occasion the discussion involved the pros and cons of capital punishment – and we all know how that can arouse strong feelings either way!!!  Susan and myself and the others discussed the pros and cons of this matter in a very calm manner.
I am going to miss these discussions and conversations with Susan.
Looking back to the autumn of 2008 I am so glad I went to see Susan and Don in Chelmsford before that illness returned.