Gary Rinsem

A Loving Tribute To Susan
by Gary Rinsem

  • Love Shack

"Atypical depression is at least twice more likely to affect women than men. In addition, atypical depression tends to begin at an earlier age (teen years and early 20s) and last longer (often becoming a chronic condition) than typical depression."
Cleaveland Clinic

If you knew Suzy, you know she didn't like to be called Suzy.
by Gary Rinsem
July 10, 2013

Some people thought it important to publish her obituary in the paper. Make it nice, and argue over the details of it. Matters not, it say's nothing about Sue, not really. I'd like to correct that omission. Sue was far more than a dear friend or loving sister...

Susan White was many things, mostly a pain in the ass. Sue suffered from the most horrific depression imaginable which she blatantly denied even to herself. On one of the rare occasions where she admitted and discussed the bouts of depression, Sue got upset and began denying it again right after admitting and discussing it. She demanded it wasn't true right after several minutes of crying about how long it had been going on and how hiding it had affected her life. I pointed out this fact while she was denying it and she responded by claiming I'm not a doctor. I pointed out that I'm also not a gourmet chef. Sue was confused by the comment so I clarified by telling her I don't have to be a gourmet chef to spot moldy cheese... This anecdote epitomizes life with Sue. She hid from the world, only partially coming out from her own thoughts to interact with friends. She was indeed very genuine about friendships and valued them more than anything else.

There never was anything "wrong" with Susan. She was extremely genuine, caring, loving, etc... Sue actually was all the nice things you'd say about a person. Deep down there was no hatred, no malice, no bigotry, no desire to abuse anyone or anything in any way. Susan White only wanted to be "normal" and never thought she was. Anyway, if there WERE normal people the rest of us would put them in straight jackets.

Have you ever smoked pot? It was Sue's life until close to the end when she had no supply and no money. Most of her life Sue got out of bed and smoked pot before anything else. She smoked pot all day and all night, sometimes for weeks if work, school, etc. allowed it. She had to take a drug test for nursing school and spent months researching how long she'd have to go without it to pass the test. Then she smoked pot until the very last second her research indicated she could get away with it. There was a big celebration after delivering her "sample" for the drug screening... and another one when she got the results.

Speaking of hiding from the world, trying to be "normal"... Susan White, dear friend, Love, partner, etc... hid her religious beliefs from most everyone. She never was Christian, did not believe in superstition of any kind. In reality her religious belief was very simple. Susan believed the universe was created, that it didn't spontaneously create. Period, end of her belief. Susan specifically said that she "couldn't be with a man" if he was Christian, or superstitious of any flavor. That was on our first date. Long talks resulted in the following understanding: Sue felt it was far too unlikely that the universe spontaneously erupted out of nothing. She had no feelings about what created it but she did speculate. Ephemeral intelligence? Alien beings from another universe or dimension? If it's the result of lasting intelligence, she speculated that the intelligence may or may not have any influence over the result. The intelligence may or may not even know it created the universe. She speculated the intelligence may no longer exist and it doesn't matter anyway.

Susan was far beyond rock star status in the court of the King and Queen of procrastinators. The entire court worshiped at Susan's feet. She'd get out of bed eighteen minutes before a fifteen minute drive to work, smoke two bowls, get dressed and rush off to work and still get there "almost" on time. We normally got to two day art festivals at five pm on the second day, in time to see them begin tearing it down. I'm not being critical, this is who Susan was.

One of her last wishes was to provide for the birds. She felt terrible that they'd gone over a year with little to no attention, had few toys, and were getting shy of people. All her life Sue constantly worried about the fate of the birds, desperately wanting to make certain her birds were well cared for if anything happened to her. Months before she died Sue decided the best she could do was leave them a dowry. She had little of value and massive debt. She provided money for their future emergencies and in the last days, finally, bought them some toys. Her desire was for us to give them toys for a year or two, in her name. Procrastination got the better of her and she only bought them a few. When the toys arrived Sue asked if it was a lot, I told her no, she said she would buy more later. Later never came, leaving the rest of the money in her bank account unclaimed.

I had questions about who Sue was. I doubted she Loved me. Most of the time I doubted she even liked me. Sue was hiding from everything. Hiding due to fear of being found out. Found out... found to be depressed, found to be a pot head, even worried she'd be found to have bad teeth. Putting up a front caused her to hide. Too depressed to answer the phone? Too stoned? Make up excuses. Fail to call back later? Later never comes to a procrastinator in their own world so make up excuses. Not critical, just true. Most of this has been obvious to me, she couldn't hide it from me but she never got comfortable with me knowing. That is the answer to all my questions about who Sue was. She was still trying to hide even from me.

My questions were answered by studying her digital world. After all, I had to clean up the mess she left behind and I'll be doing it for a long time to come. I found a wealth of insight into understanding Sue by poking into her world. I would never have violated her privacy while she was alive but... cleaning up the mess I found two of my missing flash drives hidden in her room. I looked and found the files where she kept memories closest to her heart, and secrets known only to her. I deleted the files when I realized what they contained. Days later I regretted it, wishing I had read them for a better understanding of her life. I collected all the other files I could find and spent many hours sorting through them. I got my answer, she Loved me in the best way she knew how.

Anyone who doesn't appreciate this tribute to the woman I Loved... uhm... needs to pull the stick out of their... uhm... armpit, and read it again from the right perspective. It's pointless to reminisce with rules. Born in __________, born on __________, survived by _________, loving sister, friend, blah... blah... blah... Pull your head out of your... uhm... other armpit, and consider who Susan was. What her life was and what she wanted from life. Next... try to understand the people close to you, and those you pass on the street. Make this a society where people care about each other instead of being selfish little... Do that and you'll be honoring Susan.

I will miss Susan every day for the rest of my life. Will you?