Dear Hank, Malcolm, and Evelyn, and extended family of Suzie,
You and she are constantly in our thoughts and our hearts. We are holding you and our memories of Suzie so close in our hearts as we grapple with the incredible loss of her. We wanted to share some of the ways we have cherished Suzie and your family. I know your hearts are aching with the loss of your mom, Malcolm and Evelyn, your soul mate, Hank, and, for all of the Seemans, Wetzels, and extended family, the loss of such a strong, smart, and really amazing woman/daughter/friend/niece… We are so, so, sorry this unthinkable, terrible accident has happened. Suzie still had so much more living to do. She is an irreplaceable gem.
We are very sad with the thought that we are not there now and will not be there this weekend to help, to be with you, and to celebrate Suzie with you and others who so loved her. We will be with you in spirit this weekend. Know that we are so here for you and always available to talk and to come there for a longer stay when it feels right for you.
We so, so loved our time with all of you, Malcolm, Evelyn, and Hank, this past August in California, and were especially happy that we got to celebrate Suzie's birthday together at Lassen… that fabulous, most perfect hike up the Manzanita Creek trail, walking and talking along the way… being out in nature with you all, and our boys concocting their lichen project, and some fun word play (always).
I just wanted to share some of what I will miss so much about Suz. First, I just have to state so emphatically something as you already know: Suzie was such a lover of life. And, of all that she embraced on this planet, her love for the three of you, Hank, Ev, and Malcolm, was immense. She loved you with every fiber of her body. I know you know this. I wanted to tell you how much I admired the many ways she exuded this great love: through genuine care and respect of your ideas, through careful listening to you and being responsive to your passions, your interests, your preferences, and planning…
A gift Suzie has left with me is to live as the very present, conscious and gentle parent she was with you, Malcolm and Ev… I will miss parenting along side her, learning with her, and our many, many conversations—talking through books on parenting and other topics of shared interest, exchanging good chapter book recommendations for Nick and for you, Malcolm. A vivid memory of just this sort of chat was last August: me walking around the garden in Petrolia…. we talked through recent good reads you, Malcolm, or Nick had enjoyed, and what else was out there for you two book worms. I loved this connection we had so much…. Eventually after a long chat, it would be time for one or both of us to turn to our kids… maybe Nick called me inside or Suzie needed to run because Ev was ready to play….
I learned so much from Suzie.
Since meeting at the Arcata Community Center to start off Malcolm and Nick's preschool year at the Child Development Lab, our families so easily wove together through hiking and tennis, dinners, and games, camping and swimming, both in Arcata and in Petrolia…
So many Friday nights on our way back to Petrolia, I'd swing by to scoop up Nick from playing at your house after school… Suzie and Ev would at the stove cooking. Evie was often eating olives or whatever tasty morsel of the dinner being cooked, while Nick and Malcolm were ensconced upstairs in their Lego world. Usually we'd end up staying for dinner and Hank would join. We'd fit in one last game, some ice cream… and Nick and I would be one our way ‘til next week, our next plan to the pool maybe or a bike ride to the farm…
When we suffered series of lost pregnancies, Suzie was right there, dropping by to our little nest in Arcata with a potted daisy, sending notes, talking and talking with me. She understood and listened to me fully… took Nick on his first night away from us— and we knew and trusted completely that he felt loved and safe in your home.
When Nick was little and I was busily trying to finish my dissertation and teach a class at HSU, Suzie would pick up both boys on Wednesdays until I could get there. What a gift it was to me to know that Nick was her loving care. Nick always loved to being with Suzie and felt fully at home in the fun, safe, calm, and kind and deeply nurturing vibe she joyfully created for and with all of you…always a fun project in the midst--a Rube Goldberg inspired maze—a gardening plan, or knitting project going on… Suzie brought such a thorough, thoughtful, gentle, and detail oriented vigor to parenting and life, really. She would bring Nick into the fold and ask him questions, deeply listening to his perspectives and ideas, just as she would with both of you, M & E.
Suzie was so organized, thoughtfully planned, and always followed through... She was a friend we could always count on. When we were back and forth between Petrolia and Arcata, she was instrumental in helping us feel we had a landing pad in town and meaningful connections. We loved also that she'd usually figure out a way to get down to Petrolia. Do you remember, Malcolm, our late night with legos and Donovan the art teacher, when you, your mom, and Ev came to camp at our house?
I admired and loved all of this about Suzie and so much more…
We have such a lovely last memory of a tied soccer game on your front lawn… our two families settling down post game for some sharing of puns, water, and last moments before we left for the east coast. Nick remembered with some bittersweetness, that we all agreed we'd be back for another round next year.
We already were missing your family since moving to Rhode Island, but now the missing is heartbreaking. Know that we love you and here for you. We share a really special past, full of warm, beautiful memories together as families… our dear Suzie will live on in so many, many ways. We look forward to continuing to build memories together, bringing the heart and soul of Suzie's zest, her vivid, creative, gentle, warm, positive, inquisitiveness, her love or nature and active interaction with us with us out into the world. There will be many more soccer games, hikes, swimming, tennis, chess, and Uno games together… and so much more, but we will sorely miss our Suzie. I can hear her voice now, saying “Evie” and “Malcolm” and “yes!” and “Hi Nick!” I can hear her so perfectly… I will just miss so much about living in the world lit Suzie up.
Much love and deepest sympathies,
Jen, with Nicholas and Seth sending their love too….