Friday, July 29, 2011

In Memory of a Great Friend

JO SUSAN HOLLIFIELD DAUGHERTY
 June 2, 1942- July 28, 2011

It is with much sorrow that I have to write this blog post.  Yesterday morning, one of my very best childhood friends,  JO SUSAN HOLLIFIELD DAUGHERTY (Susan or SuSu to me) passed away peacefully--after a long battle with Breast Cancer.  You may remember that I wrote a blog the first of June on "Perseverance" about Susan.  Click HERE to read that post.   Susan has fought her battles for several years--and has had some good and some bad times.  Recently,  she truly did 'rally' ---and I thought she would be around much longer. 

Susan,  about Age 12
This time though,  Susan reentered the hospital about June 17 (while George and I were on our trip out west)--and this time,  she did not rally.   They did all they could to help her --but when it became apparent that there was nothing else to be done,  her family wanted her comfortable.  So they put her in a very nice hospice facility.  The bottom line is that I knew her death was inevitable,  but when it actually happened,  I found myself crying and crying yesterday.

Susan and Duke,  with sons Brad and Ben, taken about 1970
Susan (and my other 2 childhood friends, Reida and Nita) call ourselves the Getaway Gang --or even the Ya Ya Sisterhood.  You will have to read more about our special bond (click HERE).   All four of us were born in the summer of 1942.  We grew up together and were great friends throughout childhood.  When we turned 18, we all left for college --and then went  our separate ways into different lives.

A sweet picture of Susan and Duke, 2009
Then in 1992,  when we all turned FIFTY,  we decided to meet for a few days of catch-up... That 'get-together' was AWESOME ---and we talked a mile a minute for about 3 days!!!! We decided at that time to try to meet every year in the Fall for another special time together.   We have done it most every year since 1992. 

Betsy and Susan, in 1992, on our first Getaway trip
One thing about these trips together is that we spent more time in our robes and gowns than our clothes!!!!! We looked through old yearbooks and talked about everyone that we knew 'back in the day'.... I have such wonderful memories of those trips together.


That cute little Susan getting ready to take a 'dip' in the creek (NOT)
Susan was the sweetest one of the four of us.. She was a peacemaker ---and always saw the best side of everyone and everything.  When we would get in a 'discussion' about a certain issue,  Susan would be the one who could see both sides --and helped us to come to a good  balance.

This gal always had a smile on her face.
Susan lived in Atlanta and worked for many years in the insurance business.  She married an Alabama boy --who loved her with a passion.  You can imagine how hard all of this has been on Duke.  They raised two wonderful sons, Brad and Ben.  Brad got married in 2001 --and I was was privileged to attend that wedding.  He and his wife Joy have given Susan three wonderful grandchildren... Ben is getting married in the Fall --and Susan had hoped to live long enough to go to that wedding.  She will be there with them in spirit now.

Betsy, Nita, Susan, Reida
The picture above was the last picture that the four of us have together.  It was on our 2009 trip to Maggie Valley, North Carolina.  We knew at that time that SuSu had cancer, but she was doing well then.  That trip however will remain in my memory as one of my favorites.

Look at all of my winnings!!!!!
Susan and Nita had a good time when we went to New Orleans in 1995.  We went on a casino boat ---and they just had to play the slot machines!!!!!  Susan actually won a little money!!!!  One would have thought it was a million dollars! ha

In the Sevierville, TN area in 2007
Our trip in 2007 was to a gorgeous condo in Sevierville, TN... We of course had to do some 'window shopping' in Pigeon Forge, Sevierville and Gatlinburg.  Susan wanted to take that big pumpkin home with her!!!!

Taken at the Wunderland Hotel,  near Gatlinburg, TN --1993
"Sweet, Sweet Susan:  You will be missed.  Our trips won't be the same without you.  I'm glad that Nita was with you when you died because she represented all 3 of us... We love you dearly.  We'll be watching for your smile from that big pink cloud in the sky."

Susan gave all three of us a gorgeous photograph album in 2009 ---with pictures from all of our trips together.  In my album,  she wrote this for me:  "For my dear friend, Betsy.  I  will forever treasure these memories of our 'Getaway Gang' trips.  Love you, Susan"

Susan's Response to us
This picture jumped out at me yesterday when I was going through our photo albums looking for special pictures.  This picture was taken in New Orleans in 1995 ---but I think she really made this picture for us today.   I can almost hear her say: "Hey Girls,  I am fine --and will be watching all of you from above.  Now behave yourselves. When you get here,  we'll have a big party."

Have a great weekend---and hug the ones you love. I am taking a couple of days off from blogging and commenting.  See you Monday!
Hugs,

88 comments:

Ms. A said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, Betsy. Blessings.

Linda said...

Good friends are truly one of God's greatest gifts to us. To have one in a lifetime is a treasure. To have three like the three you have is a blessing never to be taken for granted. I'm so sorry for your loss. No amount of knowing ahead that it's coming can quite prepare us for the moment.

Judy said...

I am so sorry for your loss. Thoughts and prayers are with you all.
Blessings,
Judy

From the Kitchen said...

Your post is a beautiful tribute to your dear friend. So sorry for your loss.

Best,
Bonnie

Catherine said...

I'm so sorry about your friend Betsy. Sending you extra big hugs today!
xo Catherine

Arkansas Patti said...

I am so sorry that you have lost such a dear friend. From your tribute, it is clear how dear she was to you all. Treasure her memories and be glad that there are so many.

Out on the prairie said...

Sad to lose someone like this, my condolences.Yesterday I met a family and we went through our lives. It was hard a few times to say a certin person was gone, or that I had delivered the eulogy. It was nice however to relive the memories, I was a teen for a breif moment again.

Darla said...

So, so sorry to read this Betsy...I have enjoyed reading about the getawaygang in previous posts.....

Jo said...

Oh Betsy, I am so sorry for your loss of this wonderful friend. May you, the other two friends and her darling husband and family be comforted in this sad time. What a touching tribute to such a lovely lady as Susan. Take care of yourself and George this weekend. Blessings and big hugs over cyberspace. Jo

Snap said...

Oh, Betsy. I'm so sorry. I share your tears and honor them.

Sandra said...

a wonderful tribute to a great friend. I like that last photo and it does say I am alright now. enjoyed all the photos and these just prove photos are the pilot light of memories and you have these to make you remember all those wonderful times.

HalfCrazy said...

Thank you for visiting my blog, Ms. Betsy! I really like changes. I actually fear of staying in one place for such a long time. Well, you can tell that from my posts! I will hopefully graduate on November but that's not looking too good because I still have Physics and Chemistry left behind. I hate those subjects. Haha!

I'll go back later so I can read the rest of your blog, I have to do an errand!

Mildred said...

This is a beautiful tribute to a treasured friend. My deepest sympathy to you Betsy, her friends and family.

TexWisGirl said...

I am so sorry for your loss, but truly happy for her gain. If her body couldn't take any more, then now her spirit is free. God bless you all in your grief...

Pam said...

May the grace of God be with her family and friends.. I am sorry for your loss, Betsy.

Blessings,
Pam

Lucy said...

I'm so sorry. I lost my sister to cancer in 2001 and a good friend to cancer in 2009 and another good friend from heart disease just last month. It's not fun. Sometimes I think everybody is leaving me. Great memories help but sometimes they just don't cut the cake. :(

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

I am so sorry to hear of this.My prayers are with you.May the memories get sweeter as the days go by.Go will bring back all those pleasant memories and fill your heart with joy.I hope the weekend will be refreshing.
HUGS,Ruth

linda m said...

So sorry for your loss, Betsy. I will keep you in my prayers and also pray for her soul. May she rest in peace and may you always keep your wonderful memories of your times together.

Harriet said...

So sorry to hear about the loss of your dear friend.

Dar said...

Oh, Betsy! I am so saddened at your loss of such a dear friend as Susan. The GetAwayGang will live on with such sweet memories. She was an angel in your lives. Life really IS so short.
My prayers for peace for you and the girls. God be with you.
BlessYourHearts

The Incredible Woody said...

So sorry for your loss. {{HUGS}}

Cheryl @ The Farmer's Daughter said...

Dear Betsy, I am so sorry to hear of your friend's passing. She sounds like a wonderful friend. It is so good that you got to get together each year and have fun. Those memories will help in the days ahead. You and your other friends and her family will be in my thoughts and prayers. Take care. Hugs, Cheryl

Peggy said...

My heart goes out to you Betsy. What a wonderful friend you were blessed to have in your life. I am sure you now have a very special angel smiling down and watching over you. Hugs my friend.

Peggy said...

My heart goes out to you Betsy. What a wonderful friend you were blessed to have in your life. I am sure you now have a very special angel smiling down and watching over you. Hugs my friend.

Karin said...

What a beautiful tribute you wrote! Dear friends are such a special gift from the Lord. As you go through this valley of grief may you be comforted by God's love in wonderful ways. Hugs!!!

Happyone : ) said...

I am so sorry to hear that your friend died. She sounds like a very special person and you were blessed to have had her in your life.
My prayers are with you and her family.

Daisy said...

Betsy, I'm so sorry to hear about the passing of your dear friend. Prayers here for comfort for her friends and family.

imac said...

Its always sad when you loose someone close to you.
Just remember the happy times that you both shared, as I see in your great tribute to your friend blog post Betsy.

Kay said...

I am so sorry for the loss of you good friend. I know it leaves a big void in your life as well as in your heart.

Kay

Ginny said...

Well, I am really crying now. Oh, Betsy, you have written such a beautiful and touching tribute to your friend!! That last picture!! And I do love the one of the two of you in your jammies!! What a very special person she was, and now so many people know about her! I hope this post was very cathartic and will help in the grieving process, I love you, sweetie!

amy @ Life in Pink Hi-Tops said...

I am so sorry Betsy. What a beautiful tribute to your friend. Many prayers for everyone.

CottonLady said...

My sympathy, prayers and love to you, my friend. A beautiful tribute to Susan..thank you for sharing with us.

Blessings!
CottonLady

Dorothy said...

I'm sorry for your loss, Betsy! Hold on to those beautiful memories!

A Brit in Tennessee said...

Such a beautiful lady, and friend.
My thoughts are with you and her family Betsy, so sad to lose such a vibrant and caring lady.
You have written a beautiful tribute to her....
{HUgs}
JO,

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

I'm so sorry Betsy. But what an incredible gift, to have shared so many years of a very special friendship. She sounds amazing.

Elettra said...

You did a beautiful tribute to your friend, I'm sorry for this loss, we are close and sincere condolences to the family.

Snapper II said...

Betsy,
In your Heart she is with you always.
I am truly sorry for your loss. May Gods comfort you. May God hold your friend close to Himself.

carolina nana said...

Special prayers of comfort coming your way in the loss of your friend.
Looks like she was a special lady and God just couldn't wait any longer to have her in His band of angels.
Blessings to you
Marilyn

blueskyartist said...

I'm sorry for your loss Betsy. I'm glad you have so many fond memories to look back on.

blueskyartist said...

I'm sorry for your loss Betsy. I'm glad you have so many fond memories to look back on.

T.O. Geezer said...

Sorry to hear about your friend. May she rest in peace.

~Ron

Lana said...

Good friends are so hard to find and even harder to lose. Hugs and love to you and your remaining buddies. May Susan's laughter live on in your heart's mind.

Lana said...

Good friends are so hard to find and even harder to lose. Hugs and love to you and your remaining buddies. May Susan's laughter live on in your heart's mind.

Sunny said...

Hi Betsy,
May your memories give you comfort. I'm so sorry for your loss.
Sunny

~from my front porch in the mountains~ said...

Oh sweet Betsy. I am crying tears for your loss, tears for Susan's husband, Duke, her sons, and of course, the Getaway Girls.
How fortunate you are to such wonderful friends. The 4 of you have been lucky in knowing that you always have one another! How great is it that Nita was able to be there, to represent the Girls!

Take your time. Cry when you need and laugh as you rmember all those awesome times spent togther!

God Bless.
xo, misha

Small City Scenes said...

Golly Betsy, I know it was with heavby heart you wrote this special blog. Such wonderful mwmoeies you and all have of a wonderful gal. She surely will be missed and remembered because she was/is so loved.
Rest in Peace, Sweert susan.

MB

Diane AZ said...

Hi Betsy, I am so sorry to hear about your friend. What a wonderful tribute you have created for Susan. It sounds like she was a very special lady and fun to be with. Sincere condolences to her family and friends.

Life is good! said...

so sad but what wonderful memories. i love the photo of when she was 12. it is just darling. sorry for your lose. God bless you and her family.

Diane said...

I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend Betsy. Not only is it a loss of a special friend but the gang will never be quite the same. It's so sad that things have to change. Diane

Busy Bee Suz said...

Betsy I am so sad that Susan did not win THIS battle....bless her heart. I feel for her family and her wonderful friends.
Heaven has a new angel....love to you.
Suz

Robin's Nesting Place said...

Oh, Betsy, I am so sorry for your loss. What a treasure you had/have in such dear forever friends. May God give you comfort as you grieve over your dear friend.

Wendy said...

What a beautiful lady she was and a beautiful spirit now.
How sad her life had to come to such an early end. I wish she could have attended her son's wedding in the fall.

I do recognize some of those pic of Susan and you and the gang. Happy times to be cherished in your memory.
Sending sincere condolences for the loss of your dear friend.

Ann said...

My deepest sympathy on the loss of your friend. You have some wonderful sweet memories to cherish your time together.
Sending hugs your way

Janice K said...

My heart goes out to you, Betsy. My best friend from grade school and high school started this year with cancer. She has gone through the chemo and radiation and it appears to be in remission. Now my sister-in-law is experiencing it for the second time around.

It's hard to come to grips with the fact that some of our life-long friendships have to come to an end at least for a while. But the thoughts of Heaven become more precious everyday. We have so much to look forward to!

Susie Swanson said...

Oh Betsy, I'm so saddened to hear this and so very sorry for your loss. You all are in my prayers...Love, Susie

Retired English Teacher said...

Betsy, I'm so, so sorry to hear of your loss. Childhood, girlhood friends are the best. I'm so glad you girls had all those times together. Susan seems to be have been a very precious person. I pray you, your friends, and her family will be comforted in the days to come.

Shug said...

Hi Betsy...

I have really been running late this week, but I always enjoy reading your post whether it is in the morning or evening...

I am terribly sorry for the loss of your very dear friend....I can tell by all the photos, that she must have been and incredible friend...
Praying for her family, for you, and your other girl friends...Bless you this day and may your heart be filled with wonderful memories that will give you such amazing peace...
hugs to you Betsy..
shug

Chatty Crone said...

I am so sorry for you and her family - I know what it is like to lose a best friend and I wouldn't want to wish it on my worst enemy.

So God bless - she is in Heaven and is looking down and telling you that she will be okay.

It will be much harder on you and her family.

Hugs.

~Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

My sympathies. Take care.

Beth said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you Betsy and all who loved Susan.
I'm in a similar group and we lost one to cancer almost 10 years ago. She was a sweetie also.
I teared up reading this, having been through the same type of situation.
Love to you, Bets---♥Beth♥

Fred Alton said...

What a wonderful, straight from the heart tribute to Susan. Your faith shines through brightly herein. God Bless and strengthen you at this time as you contemplate missing your friend.

Pondside said...

Betsy, I'm so sorry to read about your loss. A dear friend is a treasure, and the gift of that friendship is everlasting.
May your friend rest in peace and may eternal light shine upon her.

Kim @ Stuff could... said...

I am so sorry! You did a wonderful tribute of her life...

mudderbear said...

I am sorry to learn of your loss. Someone said that death shows us the value of life. Your tribute proves that and is lovely and heartwarming. You are a sweet forever friend to her. Sending hugs and sympathy...Rosalie

Brenda Kay Ledford said...

I'm really sorry about Susan passing. She fought a long, hard battle and was a courageous person. It's good you have so many good memories of her and your friendship. I know you will miss her very much, but she's at peace now. I pray God will give you and her family comfort during this difficult time.
Love,
Brenda

Loren said...

Oh Betsy, As I read your post my tears are keeping me from seeing... Your heart is so precious and the friendship you all shared was such a blessing and a gift! Not many people are blessed with life long friends so I can only imagine how that makes it that much more special to all of you! Lifting up prayers for you and your friends as well as all of Susans family! Sending you love & prayers my friend

Lynn said...

Betsy, This is a beautiful tribute to your dear friend. The picture and the memories you have are priceless. I can bet that when all four of your meet again, there will be a huge party and lots of catching up. God be close to you in this very sad time.
Hugs,
Lynn

Carletta said...

Dear, Dear Betsy,
This is a very moving and fitting tribute to your friend Susan.
My heart goes out to you for your loss.
Please know you are in my thoughts and prayers.
Hugs and Blessings,
Carletta

Birdman said...

Fine tribute to a friend.

Theresa said...

Hi Betsy, I am stopping by from Mildred's blog to say that I am sorry for the loss of your precious friend! God needed another Angel! Have a blessed day, HUGS!

Twilight Man said...

When I read this post earlier, I was sad for you. I lost 2 good and close friends in separate fatal road accidents over 20 years ago. I still missed them although the years we knew each other were shorter than yours. You are blessed with wonderful friends who spent so many happy years together. When they are gone, their happy memories live on forever.

eileeninmd said...

Hello Betsy. I am so sorry for the loss of your dear friend Susan. Sounds like you have wonderful memories of the times you spent together. What fun you all had. What a great tribute and post and the photos are just wonderful. I will keep you and your friends in my prayers.

eileeninmd said...

Hello Betsy. I am so sorry for the loss of your dear friend Susan. Sounds like you have wonderful memories of the times you spent together. What fun you all had. What a great tribute and post and the photos are just wonderful. I will keep you and your friends in my prayers.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Betsy I am so sorry to hear about the loss of Susan! I do rememebr your post about her and her brave battle with cancer. I hope she passed into heaven peacefully. My prayers are with you and her family. May the wonderful memories you all have of her keep and sustain you till you meet her again, one day.

Mary said...

So sorry for the loss of your good friend! I'm glad that you have so many good memories to look back on. Hugs and prayers.

Velvet Over Steel said...

What a beautiful tribute to your sweet friend, Betsy!! She is certainly smiling down on this post and You all, esp. those in your 'getaway gang'!!

Big Hug for you my friend,
Coreen XOXO

Glenda said...

I'm so sorry, Betsy. May God comfort you, Susan's family, and friends. You were blessed to have her as a close friend; not everyone has a special friendship like yours.

Andrea said...

Betsy, my condolences for you. I am sure Susan is very happy with you and how you honored her passing. I've also lost one friend last June, breast cancer turning to bone cancer, and i still have one also in it now, while a male cousin is undergoing chemo on colon cancer after having colonostomy last Dec. Take care Betsy.

Janie said...

What a wonderful tribute to a very special friend. No doubt she will have the party all planned the next time you all meet on that big pink cloud.

Ann said...

All deaths and separations are painful. It is worst when she is so young.

I will remember you in my prayers.

SquirrelQueen said...

I am so sorry to hear about your friend Betsy. You wrote a truly beautiful tribute to her memory.
Hugs,
Judy

Ann said...

My dear Betsy,

I am so jealous of you.

You must be a very special person to maintain such a good relationship. Birds of the same feather flock.

At Junior High, I too were "yaya girls" but after wards we left our home town, and we never got together again.

One died too early, and relationships changed.

You inspired me to write to one other who I met 5 years ago. because she doesn't email, and seldom wrote, I stopped connecting with you.

You are much blessed,

Pat - Arkansas said...

This is a wonderful tribute to your friend. Thank you for sharing a bit of the blessings you received from knowing her. Hugs, Pat

Cheryl said...

Dear Betsy, so very, very sorry to read of your loss. Susan sounds like a wonderful, wonderful woman. How blessed you all are to have had each other in your lives. I remember reading of your last girls trip and thinking to myself how lucky you all were, to have a true, lasting friendship. I hope your memories help get you through this sad time. Hugs.

Beth said...

Betsy, this is a bit late, but I wanted to tell you how very sorry I was to hear of the loss of your dear friend, Susan. What a wonderful friendship you had! God bless you and God bless all of Susan's friends and family as they grieve the loss of their beloved.

Cicero Sings said...

Just catching up on some blog reading. The summer happenings got away on me.

So sorry to hear of your friend's death. Death hits hard no matter if we know it is coming or not. I know you will miss her now but how awesome to know she will be waiting to meet you when it is your turn to cross over. So fun that you gals have such a long standing friendship and that you still get together. One of my friends gets together every year with old mates as well. Something the younger generation doesn't seem to do as well.

Valerie said...

Oh Betsy - how specially blessed you have been to have had such a wonderful friend ( and to still have your other friends). What a gift to have grown as friends and then reconnect and share so much of life together.

I am so very sorry for your loss of your dear friend. Praying God continues to comfort your heart and her family in the days and months ahead.

Linda (PA_shutterbug) said...

What a wonderful lifetime of memories and photographs you have of your friend. I am so sorry to hear of your friend's death. Her memory, though, will reside in your heart for all time.