Monday, December 8, 2008

My memory of Susan




We were sticking candy corns in our mouth, and apparently Sus and Jess stopped being silly before we did.

Sus is riding Shadowfax - remember that, Jess?



At my 16th bday party at the Walters.

Bahahaha. I still laugh when I look at this.

. . . .....................


We were all asked to share pics and memories of Susan that would be compiled into a memories book for Justin and her family, but I thought I would post what I submitted for the book. I had such a great time looking at pics and thinking about all the fun times we had. I would love to read what everyone else submitted as well since I probably will never see the book. I have such a bad memory so seeing some of these pics triggered a lot of our forgotten adventures, and as mentioned before, it was just so darn fun thinking about all the crazy and fun things we did with Susan. We always had so much fun together!!
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Where do I begin? I've known Susan for quite awhile now. Over all these years, we grew very close and I am so happy that she has been one of my dearest friends. We have been able to share so many fun and crazy memories, which I will cherish forever. High school was just too much fun with Susan. One time we got all our friends and watched a movie out in the ball fields of the church. Sadly, the night ended with gum all over her hair, but she handled it way too well compared to the average teenage girl. We also had a so-called "war" with our guy friends and ended up being stuck down in our friend's van down a narrow back alley. That was too funny!! The dances were always so much fun with her as well. She always just wanted to have fun, and that's exactly what we did when we were with her.
The memories didn't stop once we graduated high school. Since she was at U of A and some of us at ASU, we only got to see her on the occasional weekend. Fortunately, we had all the holidays and summers with her. We were able to continue the high school tradition of eating Bruce's famous pancakes after midnight on New Years Day with our college friends. That is one of my favorite high school/college memories. We also spent time couch skiiing (long story - but oh so fun), creating a weekly email newsletter (also long story, but sooo funny), crawdad fishing, going to countless parties, and doing whatever else it took to have fun (and meet boys)! :D Everywhere we went, all my guy friends would ask about Susan. They all liked her!! I can honestly say that I think she went on more dates than anyone I've ever known. There was just so many things about her that everyone liked, and because of it she had a lot of admirers. What was so great about Susan too, was that she was so honest with all of these boys. If she wasn't interested she would just flat out tell them!! I loved it. Most girls would skirt around telling someone or would just ignore their phone calls, but not Susan. I always told her how brave I thought she was for doing it. She even helped me to be brave the night I met my future husband, Lorin.
Sus and I had gone to a party that night and we were talking to all sorts of boys when we first met Lorin and his friends. We all chatted and invited them to hang out with us after the party. We spent the rest of the night playing "hot seat" (a favorite of ours). We would just ask all sorts of questions to try and get to know the other person better. Susan would come up with the funniest and silliest questions... it was so fun playing with her. After that night, we remembered we had a Stake Girl ask Guy Dance coming up. I wanted to ask Lorin, but felt kinda silly doing it. Susan convinced me I needed to do it or else I would regret it, and she was right. I built up the courage and asked him. Long story short, we started dating a few weeks later. On the night we officially began dating, Susan kept texting me to see how it was going. She knew it would be a "make it or break it" kinda night. I called her after we had our first kiss and she just knew I was a goner after that night. She was so happy and excited for me although she knew our plans to move in together and for us to go to Europe would probably never happen. That was just like her though... putting others before herself. Fortunately, Sus was also able to meet a very special person that year, and something happened when she met him.
From the very beginning there was just something about Mr. Justin Turley that she couldn't resist. Since I had gotten married around this time, I had fallen out of the "let's hang out lots" radar. We were still able to double with them a few times, but also during this time is when Susan and I began emailing a lot more. I think she considered me her best confidant (other than her family) at the time because all of her friends were also friends with Justin. I loved this bond we were able to have because we were able to talk a lot about the Gospel, relying on the Spirit, life, and especially love. There was no doubt that Susan loved Justin very much. And we knew he loved her too. She knew she wanted to marry him, and although it may have taken him a little longer to realize it, she knew they were meant to be together. She'd pray and fast and pray some more, and in the end she always felt like Justin was her answer. Little did we all know at the time is that he really was her answer to prayer.... and her answer for peace, comfort, hope and so many more things while she went through the greatest trial of her life. Fast forward a few years, and I was so blessed to be able to go to the temple with her when she received her endowments. She was so happy to have Justin with her that day and to have him take her through the veil. She was even more happy a week later when she was sealed to him for time and all eternity. Being in that sealing room was so wonderful. Susan was beaming and Justin was as well. As they looked at each other with so much love, no one in the room could deny their devotion and unconditional love for one another. It truly was a sweet and beautiful day.
Unfortunately, since getting married, we really didn't get to spend a lot of time with Susan and Justin. After being diagnosed with cancer we knew she would be weak and not always up to having visitors. We were so happy that she called on a Friday afternoon in September and asked us to come over that night. We spent the night chatting, playing games and enjoying one another's company. I didn't know that night that that would be the last time I would see Susan alive. She seemed so strong and happy then. I left thinking she would beat the cancer. It makes me so sad to realize that she didn't. It is/was/will be hard to lose such a good friend! Susan was just so wonderful, kind, funny, beautiful and Christlike. I knew I could count on her for a shoulder to cry or just to talk to. She has taught me so many things that I will remember forever. Because of her I am going to try and live each day to the fullest, to not worry about silly and trivial things, to serve others more, to be the best friend/sister/daughter/wife/mother that I can, and to always live my life in accordance to the will of our Father in Heaven. I am so glad she is no longer in pain but sad that her mortal probation was cut short. I know Susan was just too good of a person and that her Heavenly Father needed her. She will be forever missed and will always be in my heart.
I love you Sus!!Your friend - Kristyn Ritchey Merkley

8 comments:

Brittany said...

I knew Zach pretty well, so through him I knew Susan. She really had the best smile. It lit up a room. That's what I remember most about her. While I've been reading the updates posted on her blog this exact thing came to my mind...and became my goal. "Because of her I am going to try and live each day to the fullest, to not worry about silly and trivial things, to serve others more, to be the best friend/sister/daughter/wife/mother that I can, and to always live my life in accordance to the will of our Father in Heaven." You worded it perfectly.

Amy said...

I enjoyed reading your post Kristyn. I also enjoyed your testimony on Sunday. I hope you continue to find peace at this time, and that your testimony will continue to be strengthened by this experience. What a great friend you had!

Kristi said...

Someone in our ward mentioned Susan in her testimony yesterday. I can't remember her first name, but her last name is Pond, I think. Reading your posts makes me wish I knew her, but it's obvious she was a great spiritual giant.

Ross and Brittany Chambers said...

thanks for the great pics and memories. we shared some great times together and i am truly grateful for her friendship!

Lee and Anne said...

Kristyn - thanks for the post. Sounds like some fun memories. I am glad that I got to be a small part of it...being there that night at the party hanging out with Lorin when you met him. But I had almost forgotten about "hot seat". Good times. I can't seem to get over the fact that Susan is gone. I guess in a way it's good though because every time I think about it I remember what a good person she was and it makes me want to be better. What an awesome example for all of us.

Lee

Julie & Tucker said...

Such a heartfelt post . . . I am sorry for the loss, it breaks my heart, but it sounds like she leaves behind a wonderful legacy! What an outstanding person she is!

Jack and Annie said...

Such a wonderful tribute to dear Suz. I wish I had the chance to get to know her better.

scott and lindsey said...

you guys had some really great memories. Thanks for sharing them all! I'll have to send you mine.. its super long, so I probably won't post it, but I'll send it in an email. It was really good to see you. I wish we could have chatted a bit more. I would love to hear how your store is going and Lorin's plans. I'll see you soon though- over the holidays ;)