Holiday Grief: Losing Susan and Keeping Her Memory Alive

December 18, 2014 7:31 PM

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The holiday season is in full gear, and everyone is supposed to be happy. But this year, all that merriment is tinged with a wrenching sadness. Just days before Thanksgiving, my sister-in-law, Susan succumbed to a seemingly mysterious, fast-moving case of end-stage heart disease. Following four surgeries, where doctors attempted to implant mechanical devices, remove blood clots and stop bleeding, she was placed on life support. After four weeks of mixed reports and false hope, it was over. All deaths diminish us, but this one has been especially difficult and troublesome.

Perhaps that's because Susan wasn't just a sister-in-law, she was a good friend, a peer. At 61, she was so full of life and seemed so much younger. In fact, when we were together, we were like two college girls. Even if we started out discussing real concerns, we always ended up laughing and laughin...

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