“All that survives after our death are publications and people. So look carefully after the words you write, the thoughts and publications you create, and how you love others. For these are the only things that will remain.” Susan Niebur
Susan, author of Toddler Planet, and I started blogging at about the same time. There was a natural affinity – we were both new mothers, both career scientists – and we communicated through our blogs and emails. She was a font of encouragement to me in my early days of blogging, and I have dedicated more than one post to her over the years.
Ultimately, she continued on blogging, advocating, exploring, while I have foundered. She found inspiration in her diagnosis, and reached down into a wellspring of courage to reach out and to do what is as natural to her as breathing. To educate, to comfort and to love.
Susan is “just” a human. She has struggled with deep fear and the unfairness of life. She has had days where she has questioned her ability to cope. And she has shared it all with us, in black and white and breathtaking prose, so that we know that it is okay. It is okay to doubt, to feel fear and to feel alone in the face of something so big it takes your breath away. Her ability to express the journey of being human at our most vulnerable has given comfort to so many in need of a hand in the dark.
So I grope out with my hand, here in the dark, to hold hers. To give back the gifts she has given us – to live in the moment, to love fully, to follow your passion, to squeeze everything you can out of the time given us.
And she knows, as a scientist and as a writer of artistic eloquence, the vast beauty of the universe. We are indeed the stuff of stars, a momentary collision of matter that takes form and breathes and lives. We will live on through the imprint we make on everything around us, but that form, that fallible form, will disperse and remix and become another thing of infinite beauty in timeline stretching out from the moment of creation.
To Susan – I wish you peace and comfort and great love in your journey. I pray for your family around you, holding you close in their love. And know that part of you that will live on, that will always live on, is a thing of aching loveliness.