I learned today of the passing of a friend back home. Susan Rachel Shultis. Sue has been my friend for about 40 years. I met her when Dave and I moved to Springfield MA and we attended church there. We attended the same congregation together over the past 40 years.
Suzie could always be counted on to help, whether it was to substitute in Primary with the little ones, or to share in Relief Society or Sunday School.
And my! How she loved to talk! How she loved to laugh!
Suzie was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer right about the time we came out on our mission a year ago. She has fought a good fight. She did everything she could to live. She had an upbeat attitude. She didn't give up. She didn't whine. She didn't mope or feel sorry for herself.
She used the time that God gave her to the best of her ability. She prepared herself for her return Home. She set priorities to get things done before she left her family to join her Dad and others who were waiting on the other side.
Suzie had mellowed over the years. I remember the first time we met 40 years ago. Our first meeting in the church lobby didn't go very well. She was definitely a bit feisty. We have laughed about that over the years that we definitely got off on the wrong foot.
What have I learned from Sue? She was a hard worker. She was a devoted daughter, mother, grandmother and friend. She didn't judge people. She looked on their heart. She had a strong love of the Savior. She was a very nice person and I loved her.
Suzie is an ordinary woman (or so she would say) who gave the world an extraordinary gift. Her blog, http://www.thecancerrollercoaster.blogspot.com is one of the last gifts Suzie left. As I read her posts here on our mission, I was constantly inspired and uplifted by the humor and truth in her blog as she related what she was doing, how she was preparing, and what she hoped to finish before she was called Home.
What is this extraordinary gift she gave? In her blog, she taught us not only how to live with the hand that we are dealt, but also how to die. She bore a strong and powerful testimony of who she is, of her unwavering faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His Atoning sacrifice for all of Heavenly Father's children. Suzie was not afraid to die. Suzie knew why she was here and where she was going. She knew that there was something beyond the earthly life that she was leaving. I don't think she was anxious to leave her family and friends behind, but she wasn't afraid either and she accepted the Lord's will without murmuring.
Her parents have always been dear to me. I asked her to give her Dad Harold a big hug from me when she saw him next. Her mom Rachel, is a very special lady and has been a wonderful example to me over the years. She is a strong woman with a strong testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ and she lives what she believes and knows to be true. I love her and my prayers are with her at this sad time. And yet, Rachel knows that Sue is now free from pain. She fought a good fight. She has earned the right to rest. And I am sure that Rachel knows that now her daughter and her husband are watching her over her.
I pray that her blog, her testimony and her life will continue to be a legacy to her family and friends. Her son Frank was with her this morning at 6:30. She called out to her Dad, reached up and was gone. She has gone ahead. OH! I can only imagine the joyful reunion she is having.
Rest in peace, dear friend. Until we meet again, Dos vidonya. I love you.