Cheese and crackers.

I brought cheese and crackers. Cheese and crackers. For some reason I feel like my grandfather used that as a cursing phrase which is so silly because he was far too fond of any and all variations of ‘damn’ to use something innocuous like cheese and crackers. Damn dog! Damnit Stephie eat something. Goddamn it Stephie you get too fat and no manĀ  will want you!

He was an utter delight, she types with sarcasm dripping from the tips of her fingers. He lived well into his 80’s, the nurses telling him he was so mean even the old man’s friend (pnuemonia) didn’t want to help him out.

Susan Niebur was an utter delight, she defined delight, she lived into her 30’s.

No damn fair.

I find my inner monologue sounding a lot like a toddler the last week or so. No! No Fair! Mine! (No, Susan was not mine, she was her husband and children’s, her parents and her best friend Marty’s. She was Jean’s, she was so many other people’s before she was mine, I can’t claim her…but by MINE! I mean here, this world. I suppose she wasn’t any of ours, she was God’s.)

I feel like raging to the Heavens and screaming at God. Those boys, her beautiful, sweet boys.

I bought a new skirt and some waterproof mascara. I can’t quite fit into the prepregnancy skirts of yore and the mascara was a known excercise in futility, but I handed over my card nontheless.

I used cookie cutters, shaping the cheese slices into crescent moons, stars and planets. Such a silly thing to do but it gave me a task. For a moment I wondered if the adults would think it was stupid or trite then discarded that thought because I knew I was doing it for the boys. I can’t pick them up and hug them, wrap them in my arms and never let them go. Maybe they would smile at the stars for mommy.

I know I will always look up at the real stars and smile thinking of WhyMommy.

One week ago today I sat surrounded by some of the most amazing, talented and kind women I have ever known, The DCMoms. We sat together, dabbing our eyes and sniffling at the loss of the most beautiful among us. We sat together just a few pews back from where I had sat at Susan’s baptism, dabbing my eyes and sniffling that day as well, but from happiness Susan beaming as she became a catholic.

Afterwards we somberly went to the reception, the same room where we had celebrated her birth as a Catholic. I saw many of the same faces, ones that smiled from their souls on her baptism now smiling with saddened souls. As it happens at funerals, people began to reminisce about Susan. Slowly the smiles were in earnest and you could hear a laugh here and there.

And the boys, those beautiful boys chasing each other around the room, giggling, punching each other playfully in the shoulder, all the while chomping on star shaped cheese.

Goodbye beautiful Susan. I wish I had gotten to say good bye in person. Maybe you know, now that you are on the other side, how you changed my life, changed me. There is a tendency to make those who have gone saint like, but Susan? You were human, you were flawed, you struggled but always, even in your darkest times you always showed grace. At the reception Jessica told me I was “your girl” and then we held each other and cried. You looked out for me, you led me, you taught me and I will forever feel your loss. Not just for what you gave me…but just you. Just you. Your spirit, soul and heart. I’ll try to make you proud.

Your body couldn’t contain how great your spirit was. But God I wish it had.

One week since we said good bye to you and life is going on. We get up, we get the kids breakfast, we celebrated Valentine’s day knowing that your sweethearts didn’t have you to hold. We have even laughed a time or two. But you are never far from our minds. You never will be.

Reading Little Pookie to Boss the other day, the final passage seemed different to me.

The Night winds are blowing

there are stars all above you

goodnight Little Pookie

I love you and love you

and love you and love you and love you and love you.


The night winds are blowing, there are stars all above you, goodnight sweet Susan. I love you and love you. And love you and love you and love you and love you.