Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Another Battle Lost

Sue's official title was Office Manager, though it could have easily been Mother Hen the way she took care of us grad students. Every question we had, every time we felt lost in bureaucratic hoop-jumping, it was "Go to Sue. She'll know what to do." She cared about each one of us. No matter how fast the family grew, she kept up, even asking us senior students about alumni, "What's So-and-so up to? Did So-and-so's wife have the baby? How's Dr. So-and-so doing at the new job?" She organized the holiday parties and the summer picnics (and made sure we never ran out of beer!). And since she went into the hospital, diagnosed with cancer a couple months ago, us chicks have been lost.

It was nearly six months ago now that I was sitting in her office, giving her details of Randy's memorial service, directions to the funeral home, where to send donations so she could pass information to faculty and students. Both of us still in shock, we proceeded to do what too many of us do nowadays. We exchanged stories of people we have known who have succumbed to this horrible disease, not knowing it was killing her as we spoke.

She was one of the first people I met in Florida, one of the only people who truly made me feel like there were people watching out for me in this big, new scary city. As such, I am certain she is still looking out for somebody, somewhere. But right here, right now, Sue is missed very much.

9 comments:

Runner Girl FL said...

I will never be able to walk into that office again and not feel that it is empty to not see her there. I don't know how she did it but somehow she kept all of us absent minded physicists from getting lost. And we were a handful. As an out of the nest chick I can't imagine who I would go to now. May God have mercy on the next soul who tries to do that job.

She will be truly missed.

Scott said...

Once again you have paid a huge compliment to a departed friend. Of course I didn't know her, but I feel the loss of someone who cared for others.

magnetbabe said...

Thanks, Scott. It's unfortunate that I have to do it once again. RG's right, it's a tough job and often Sue would go well above and beyond it for us. I doubt we'll get another office manager as caring as her. She left some big shoes to fill!

Jackie said...

What a lovely tribute. So sorry for your loss.

dancingo4 said...

So sorry you and your crew are facing another loss. Thinking of you all at this hard time.

magnetbabe said...

Thanks, Jackie and dancingo4. I actually just got back from the service which was very nice. I learned a lot about her personal life that I didn't already know . I had been doing okay until the Department Chair got up to speak, and described just how much she loved her "physics kids." The things she did for us were so above and beyond what was required of her that I know things will never be the same around here.

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