Eleven years since she died, written soon after her death
I shall always remember the years of friendship with Suzi. How, after she first met me, she called out to me in a supermarket ‘Oi! Julie!’ and we ended up drinking tea at her home and I learned about the awfulness of her first marriage. That she was much older didn’t matter.
We spent many hours talking, arguing, laughing and drinking all sorts of beverages and the occasional smoke together (I am a non smoker). In the kitchen, the lounge, her bedroom or with me sitting outside the bathroom door. I also spent time in that bath, and we slept alongside each other in Suzette’s bed, sometimes in the day and sometimes at night. Suzi would sometimes mime events to me which always resulted in life threatening laughter.
I got to know Daniel, her son, of whom I’m very very fond, and met Shervin (her stepson) several times, and our slow dance at Suzi’s 50th was memorable. I met Jackie, Judy, Tony, worked with Ceri, and Suzi hosted my hen party. I also met her mother and was very fond of her, as dysfunctional as she was. I was always smiled as she offered me Raffles cigarettes which would ‘not give me wrinkles around my mouth’. This became a shared memory for us, and we still laughed about it this year. I have a photo of her at my wedding, when her guest was fought over by another ‘friend’ of mine. We had to laugh.
Suzi was one of the first to see L at the Mat Unit. She brought two other friends but for the life of me my hormones will not let me recall who they were. I fed L many times at Suzi’s with Suzi’s frequent question ‘ Is this another feed or the same one??!’ Lara was a slow feeder and spent a long time clamped to my breast.
Food was a major factor in our friendship and even the simplest meal was fantastic. Wine too, and the odd good whisky. Suzi met Andrew at a time lost in other events and became truly happy, and I love him for this. She adored him, and he is a hero.
I was privileged to be with Suzi at her first appointment — gosh when was it? April? She had a mammogram and fluid drawn. It was bright sunny morning and she pulled out my two granny facial hairs very adeptly and we laughed about the aging process. I sat and worried while she argued with consultants and did her thing. I laughed with such relief and joy when she related this to me, but worried sill that Andrew did not know and made Suze promise to him. She did keep her promise but although she told me when, it was not immediate. Bless her, she wanted to save him worry.
I love Suzette for being a fish out of water, unconventional, a fighter for the vulnerable and a lover of truth. I love her for the jobs she lost because she believes in what is right and fair. We are alike, and yet different enough to attract each other.