I remember when we moved onto Bayshore Drive, in the house right next to yours. You and Salu gave us an instant and warm welcome. You invited us into your home. We enjoyed beautiful dinner’s together over wine and intently listened to wonderful stories about the Safety Harbor Spa, back when it was a destination vacation, and when Salu was part owner.
Wether it be dinner at our house or your’s, we always enjoyed wonderful evenings together, with lots of laughs and great conversations.
I remember when we lost Salu all too soon. We were grateful for the memories we made and the time we got with him. He always made us laugh, and he was such a giving man. You held the family together during that difficult time, and I know it was a very difficult time for you as well, but you were so strong.
It was then that Doug and I first discovered how many loved and adored you, Salu and your beautiful family. Those who came to celebrate his life, from all over the world, gave evidence to the impact you and Salu had on so many.
The month’s went by and your grieved, but you were strong.
I remember when Lise and Jan came for their yearly visit, we enjoyed some wonderful meals and evenings together. One evening you, Lise, and Jan cooked a beautiful Danish meal for us, and Ole joined us that night too. On another evening, we taught you guys how to make Italian meatballs. Lise taught the girls how to draw, Ole cuddled the little cat that ran between our house and your’s, and we enjoyed chats in the morning together over fruit and coffee. As the years passed, we always loved our yearly visits with Lise, Jan, Ole, and all of your Danish friends that would visit.You aren’t in these shots because you were always up and running, preparing something for your guests and making sure everyone had what they needed. You were always the best hostess.
I remember the occasional time you’d join us for a walk downtown for a festival or 3rd Friday Night. Those were fun evenings, and it meant so much to us to have you there. We experienced the new things in the harbor together, and got to hear about the way the harbor used to be. We enjoyed the music at the gazebo, and we all agreed it was time to head home to peace and quiet when the crowd began to grow.
I remember the mornings we enjoyed coffee together, while looking out over the water that sparkled like diamonds. I always thought I was the only one who saw the water hold diamonds atop it’s surface, until I met you.
We’d also watch the birds play in the fountain, and the squirrels on the porch. Of course, we can’t forget about our cute furry friend Nigel, the little bunny that hopped between our yard and your’s.
I remember when you brought the Danish Easter egg to the girls, the first Easter we were here. You explained the tradition to them, and they were fascinated by it.
I remember the first time I got to view your doll making station. The little nook at the top of the winding staircase, housed the most beautiful handmade doll ornaments. I’m not surprised these dolls were sought by many around the world. You made this one for me when I graduated nursing school.
And, here’s a great article about the work you did: Sus’ doll story
I remember the time I got the honor to interview you for a paper I had to write in nursing school. During that interview, that we chunked into 3 sessions, I got to learn about your life as a child, your life with Salu and how you met, your wedding day, the years in which you raised your children and some of your favorite family vacations. That was one of my most memorable experiences with you, and I’m so grateful that you allowed me to know you on a deeper level. I’m fascinated by the amazing life you lived and I feel honored to have known you.
I remember those other times in nursing school, during finals week, when you allowed me to study in one of your bedrooms upstairs. I love my girls and my home, but to be in a quiet room, that you so graciously opened to me during those busy months, was exactly what I needed. You knew that. You always had great intuition.
I remember that night when a bad storm hit the harbor, and you joined us for family movie night. That was fun.
I remember the times you’d sweep the hair out of my eyes and tell me to get a haircut.
I remember the many occasions that we threw parties, and we’d run to your house for more tables or to use space in your garage fridge, when the space in our fridge for party food was gone.
I remember the evenings we spent together on the dock, sipping wine and watching the beautiful birds perched upon your dock.
I remember all the times Doug made and delivered dinners to you, and I don’t say that to boast on him, but I mention it because you meant SO much to him. He loved you dearly, and you were like another mother to him. He was always happy to do anything for you, because he cared for you so much.
I remember the many gifts you showered upon the girls. You brought gifts back from Denmark for them. You brought gifts for every birthday. You brought them gifts for Easter and Christmas. Whenever I’d say, “I’m going to Sus’s”, they’d ask to come. They loved you so much. Here are 2 notes Sophie wrote; one for you and one for me (as she watched me cry throughout the weekend). Sara processed it a little different, with continuous hugs hugs and “I’m sorry mom” .
I remember the times you’d hug me goodbye after our quick or long visits, and right before I ran back over to my house. I could always feel your love.
I remember the many July 4th celebrations we shared together, some of them in the pouring rain. We also celebrated many birthday’s and holiday’s together. Our family felt complete when you were there.
I remember your 70th birthday party, that was held at the Safety Harbor Spa. People from all around the world came to celebrate you, and I’m not surprised a bit. You were loved by so many!
I remember that everytime there was a full moon, you’d call me, and ask if I could see it. You, Doug and I would meet on the side walk in front of our houses and stare in aww at the beautiful full moon and it’s reflection over the water. Then we’d offer words of gratitude for how blessed we are to live where we do, surrounded by such beauty.
I remember there were always visitors in your home. Wether they were friends just stopping by to say hi, or friends from Europe visiting, your house was always full of love, and open to anyone who wanted to stay. Everyone who visited your home felt like family, and you went out of your way to provide a great experience.
I remember we’d always check in on one another right before and after a big storm, and we did get storms, but we made it through all of them.
I remember the times you’d ask me why I chose that color for my toes.
I remember you honesty, your sense of humor, you warm smile, your hugs, your love and your friendship.
Sus, you will never ever be forgotten. Our hearts are broken, and the neighborhood feels different and empty now. I pull out of the driveway and long to see you sitting at the little round table in front of the big sliding glass door. This was so sudden and we wanted more time with you. So many people wanted more time, but you went fast and you didn’t suffer. That’s the way you wanted it. I’m not shocked by the huge stock of people that keep showing up in your home to pay there condolences to Nina, Natasha and Nick. You impacted so many lives and I only hope I can be half the woman you were.
I love you and already miss you terribly, but until we meet again, RIP dearest Sus.
Dear Nina, Natasha and Nick,
We’re so sorry for your loss. We can’t imagine the pain you must be going through. Your mother loved you guys so much, and she knew how much you loved her too. She was so grateful for the relationship she shared with each of you, and she mentioned it to us often. Thank you for sharing her with us. She meant so much to each one of us, and to many others all around the world. Please feel our love and hugs during this difficult time, and always know we are only next door or a phone call away if you need anything.
Doug, Lorena, Sara and Sophie
For my memory of you Sus, I’ve included a portion of the interview I did with you a few years back. This was an assignment I had to do in nursing school, and you were the first person that came to my mind.