I have to say, I am stunned by Susan's death. I met her, like so many of us, thanks to the Xenaverse. It was about 10 years ago when she first came to my home to participate in a crazy, pre-San Francisco convention, Xena party. Susan loved the parties.
She always brought something to share and helped in every way possible. I was amazed at her special home-baked “chakram” cookies. How did she ever find the time to make them with her busy schedule? I’ll always remember Susan bringing her infamous Gabrielle-esque "ugly green sports bra Game" to the parties to add to the amusement of all of us. How did she ever convince us to play it? That was Susan, with her charming smile.
Well, that occasion was a complete surprise in our vacation plans, to suddenly be in the middle of the Vancouver Gay Pride Parade. Susan was always game for an adventure.
Tam drove the sponsor car, Susan & Cathy and I walked behind, handing out bottles of water along the route, with everyone begging Susan to give them her Ed the Sock t-shirt. She almost gave in… the shirt off her back. That was Susan. And later that day, several of us joined Susan in several helpings of the local "summer ice" oysters at Granville Island. (She did love her oysters.) At that point, the “summer ice” oyster was her sweet favorite.
I remember Susan’s excitement getting onto a horse at Lake Louise, in the Canadian Rockies. (And her equal excitement to get off!) She was so proud that she could do new things like that after her surgery.
And of new things, I’m reminded of a wonderful dinner the three of us had in Jasper. Susan loved new experiences and she had never tasted 'grappa' before. We were all stuffed after the big meal and I told Susan that she had to try it, just once ("once in a lifetime") because it's also supposed to be a great digestive. She was skeptical, but so curious she couldn’t pass it up. So we ordered a glass and the three of us shared. I can still remember the face Susan made when she tasted it. "It really DOES taste like turpentine!" And she scrunched up her face, then laughed, and after another sip she coughed, "you get kind of used to it." We all laughed. Then, she thanked me for bringing her a new “first experience", dubious as it was. I felt honored.
[Hadas (Helen) Rivera-Weiss sent this great shot of Susan at the Portage Glacier from 1990. BTW, the ice at this glacier has receded so much, you have to hike about a mile or more back to get to it now, in 2006. When I was 5, most of this entire lake was all ice. cb]
Mostly, I remember how in awe she was climbing a glacier and how she wanted to stop for every wild animal and lake sighted from the road, just to observe and marvel at the simple beauty of it all. On one such stop, in the middle of the road, I laughed from the back seat of our car as Cathy and I watched her wrestle with a herd of wild goats, long tamed by other tourists, as they poked their heads in her window, drooling and nudging her, grappling for the bag of treats in her hand. She was absolutely out of control with the giggles and faux-indignation, trying to push the noses back.
This was the part of life that Susan was in love with. This is how I will remember her…always.
You’re in our hearts, Susan.