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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,