Monday, 7 September 2009

A death, a tragedy

This morning we gathered in the chapel and as we began worship we learned of the death of a colleague. From the choir came an audible gasp of "oh no" followed by tears. Suzanne was brilliant, funny, musical and a little crazy. We loved her, she managed by sheer enthusiasm and charm to get people to sing, play and do music in chapel in a transformative way. Last week we met briefly as staff with our new general secretary and she spontaneously struck up Hale, Hale, Hale lujah at the end of the brief time of prayer we shared together. It was perfect and inspired.
Today she was due to start two weeks holiday with her younger sister, she had seemed so well last week. Yet at some time on Saturday night she reached rock bottom and now she is no more. We can see the back window of her appartment from our back garden. O why did she not feel able to ring our doorbell even at 3am? Yet again I feel caught in that old adage, life is lived forwards and understood backwards.
So we gathered again at lunch time today in the chapel and Suzanne once more brought in people who on principle never attend religious services. We wept, our voices broke, we read powerful passages from the Psalms in Swahili and Samoan and Spanish and English, we told funny stories about her. The choir sang wonderfully and the music wove in and out of our weeping, reading and remembering. We gave thanks to God for her life and lit candles and hugged one another. And we prayed for Suzanne's three beautiful daughters, her mother and sisters.
O Suzanne, I so wish you could have shared your hour of despair with us and that we could have helped you through. I so hate having to speak about you in the past tense, it seems very wrong, you who were so much part of the present. "If only"...


Mrs Redboots (Annabel Smyth) said...

That is so dreadfully sad; quite apart from normal grief, one always feels so guilty when a friend/colleague takes their own life - could we not have stopped it? was there nothing we could have done? Been there, done that, too many times already.

Lots of sympathy, and no, thre was nothing you could have done differently.

David Ker said...

Terrible news. My sympathy is with you.