It has been one year since the physical world lost our beloved Susan Niebur, the ground-breaking scientist, devoted mother, loving wife and friend who wrote the beautiful blog Toddler Planet.

I know that our loss has been heaven’s gain. Yet I still feel so many conflicted emotions that she is not here. However, for all the books I have read, professionals both spiritual and cerebral that I have talked to, I feel the most acceptance and light when I do one of these things:

— I see Susan’s husband Curt. He is truly the best spouse and parent I have ever met, and he radiates positivity, capability and love for his boys. His partnership with Susan was truly golden, and his kindness to all of us who miss his wife is incredible.

— I meet with the women in my and Susan’s prayer group and with our blogging-mama friends. I was so blessed to be a fellow part of two groups of friends with Susan, and every time I see them I am reminded of Susan’s delight in each chance to visit with these women. Their friendships are blessings that Susan held dear and she taught me to cherish as truly rare gifts on this earth.

— I attend Mass. Susan always counted a good day as one that she was able to make it to church with her family.

— I go back to Susan’s blog and read her words.

I hope that Susan and Curt will forgive my violation of the more-than-three-lines quote rule, because publishing Susan’s words here can communicate so much better than I the peace and acceptance for which I am striving.

From Susan’s post Savoring three good days, and Christmas Eve on December 31, 2011:

“I am trying to shift my perspective from anger that my future that has been taken from me into gratitude, again, for all the days that I have been given since my cancer metastasized and indeed, since my initial diagnosis with breast cancer in June of 2007.

Our Christmas card this year was stuffed full of pictures of the good times – so very many good times that would never have happened for me without the medical advances enabled by cancer research, the confidence that comes from belief in a loving God and the existence of tomorrow, and a supportive and loving family that loves me for what I can do, not judging when I can’t.”

From Susan’s post It’s not fair!  on September 23, 2011

“Life is given to each of us.  We each get one shot at this sucker, and we are never really told that it will be fair.  We each get one life, one daily wage, and that’s it.  The guy next door gets one life to live.  The mom down the street gets one too.  No one ever promised us the same life, the same opportunities, the same blessings, or the same time to live.  No one ever promised that.  We are promised one opportunity, one life, and how we live it is between us and our Creator (I believe).  There is no comparing.

I have everything I ever wanted.

Am I sometimes envious of others, who may get forty-plus more years on this Earth than I?  Sure.  But I was never promised 80 years. I was promised a life.  And boy, have I had a pretty incredible life.

I’m not done yet, but I am finally coming to understanding about the parable and about what I’ve been given, and I am again grateful, for God has kept his promises to me and I have lived the best way I know how.  I have been truly blessed.”

Susan loved her husband, her children, her work, her parents, her family, her communities, the physical experience of life, and her God. While I have carried a torch of grief, bitterness and the injustice of her suffering and her too-early death in my heart this year, I know I need to give that up to God and start living by her example.

We love you Susan.

I love you Susan.

Thank you.

In Honor of Susan

As we honor Susan’s memory, please consider furthering her legacy through a contribution to the Inflammatory Breast Cancer Research Foundation or the American Cancer Society.

Please join bloggers throughout the web in honoring Susan Niebur’s life and contributions with a post, and please add your link below.