Monday, March 29, 2010

Susan F. Harper

Susan Freeman Harper.  Born 7-15-1956.  Died peacefully in her sleep 3-29-2010.  She was loved by many, and she will be missed.

Thank you, blog readers, for your interest in Sue's life and your concern and prayers for her and our family. 

During the last several months Sue kept a small book of writings from Maya Angelou near her bed.

The book has been open to this 
Maya Angelou quote for some time:

"My grandmother used to say,
'When you don't like a thing,
change it.
If you can't change it,
change the way
you think about it."

It is my sincere hope that those who've followed
Sue's myeloma journey,
and particularly this last portion in which she showed
unflinching calm and confidence
that death is not something to be feared,
will have changed the way you think about death,
and also about life.

The tense of this blog title is no longer valid.
Has is now had.
Sue loved her life and lived it well,
but she's in a better place now as she knew she would be.
And she is now completely cancer free.

For those who are able to attend, there will be
a memorial service at:

 North Fresno Mennonite Brethren Church
5724 North Fresno Street, Fresno, California
at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, April 2, 2010.

Remembrances may be made to:

Camp Keola
P.O. Box 111
Reedley, California  93654


Mennonite Central Committee
1012 G Street
Reedley, California  93654


  1. Hi George,

    I am so sorry for your lost. Although I didn't meet Sue a long time ago, I feel an instant connection with her. I am so happy to have the privilege to meet her. She was a beautiful woman inside and out, and I know shes in a better place. Condolences to you and your family. As I walk in the Relay For Life and MMRF this April, I will walk in honor of her.


  2. Wish we could be at the service. I am sure it will be a blessing. Sue was a great gal! We celebrate her life with you. Don't stop writing. Love and prayers- Bruce and Janice

  3. Though I never met Sue, I'm sure if I had I would've loved her.

    I'm praying that you can feel God's loving arms around you and your family now... and rejoicing that Sue is now cancer free!

    Thank you for sharing this journey with us.

  4. George, My condolences to you and your family. I came to love Sue and you even though I did not know either of you. The myeloma that I have and Sue's myeloma was the reason I first read the blog. But Sue's happy demeanor and your caregiving and writing drew me to this place each day.There are thoughts which are prayers. "There are moments when, whatever the posture of the body, the soul is on its knees. Try as you will, you cannot annihilate that eternal relic of the human heart, love." Victor Hugo My prayers are with you. Rebecca Weber

  5. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. She has sounded like a wonderful person.

  6. Sincere condolences to you and your daughters. Sue will never be forgotten by any of us in the MM community.

  7. Yes she will be missed, George. And we will continue praying for you, Jess, and Val.
    Marcy Bergen

  8. My heart goes out to you and the girls. You are a very special family. George, you are a great writer who kept us informed with grace and humor. I hope that grace and humor along with the blessing of the Lord keep you in these lonely hours. We treasure the good times we had with you and Susan.
    With love, Karen & Max

  9. May our heavenly Father envelop you with His love, comfort, and peace!


  10. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and the girls. Sue was such a special person and I am so blessed to have known her if it was only for a short time. May God's love and peace surround you and the girls during this difficult time.

  11. George,
    We are praying for the peace that Sue experienced, to be the peace that you and the girls will be able to hold close to your heart. She was such an example to all of us, on how to live while at the same time, preparing to leave those whom she loved so deeply. She will be remembered by all of us.
    Praying for you,
    Dave & Kathryn DiPalma

  12. If we are remembered by the gaps we leave in the lives of those around us, Susan's gap must be bigger than the Grand Canyon and the Marianas Trench combined... my deepest condolences to all those who have known her and will miss all that she brought into your lives. My regret is that I didn't know her except by the wonderful and loving descriptions you offered, George. May these forthcoming days of grief and loneliness be cushioned by the outpouring of love of friends and family for you...

  13. George,

    My thoughts and prayers are with you, Jessi, and Val. It has been awhile since I have seen you guys and I wish I would had been around more. I will never forget the times I had with Sue and Jessi at your guy's old house down the street and around the corner from mine. She ALWAYS had a smile on her face and uplifting words. I will never forget my Camp Keola days; it will always hold a special place in my heart.

    Love always,
    Jessica Whitehead

  14. We're sending you such warm thoughts and know you will find comfort in the faces of your daughters and your memories of Sue. Hugs to you all.

  15. I am going to print your blog for my family to use as a comfort and help when God calls me home. As a MM wife, I often have read your entries to my caregiver husband. You speak in a language he knows so well. I so admire the strength and grace you showed as you handled Sue illness and death. What a gift you and your daughters gave Sue to let her go with peace and blessing. I tell my daughters that if they cannot go on well after I am gone, then I did a poor job raising them. I tell people, that when it is my time to enter heaven, when I get there, I will say..I wish I could have been here sooner. I also believe that there has always been a number to my days on earth....and cancer doesn't change that...
    It is also a comfort to me that Sue had peace, because the thought of leaving those we love it so hard....
    Prayers and hugs

  16. So very sorry to read this post but also awed by the courage and grace Sue showed in her journey. What an incredible woman.
    Praying God's healing love surrounds you all.

  17. Thanks, Denise, aka Tim's Wife. We did not ignore your posted comment regarding injecting the chemo directly into the spinal fluid. We passed that on to the oncologists. Sue's myeloma had several complications, including chromosome traspositions. Though the condition of having myeloma inside the spinal walls is rare, your information may be useful to others who are similarly situated. by George!

  18. Our thoughts and prayers go out to you and your girls. All of the girls at Quilters Paradise, have such fond memories of Sue, and we have had the great pleasure in getting to know Jessica as well. Sue leaves a great legacy in both of her girls and you should be extremely proud of this. We wish you comfort in the days to follow.

  19. George thank you for being so open and honest with your family's myeloma journey. You have both shown much courage and most importantly faith in our Lord. I have been following your blog since December and have learned so much. My husband was diagnosed in July with MM so I know you understand where I am coming from. May God continue to richly bless you and your family.

    Your sister in Christ,

  20. George,
    There are no words to express my deep sorrow and sympathy for your loss. Our prayers are with you, Jess and Val. May the same God who created Susan wrap His arms around you today and always.

    Kevin and Lisa Alvey

  21. George, Jess & Val,
    All I can think of now is what you said about the hikes that she would not be able to take. I can just imagine her hiking now, loving the sights and sounds around her. We love you and pray for God's amazing peace during this time.
    Paula & Keith Hartman

  22. George my thoughts and prayers are with all of you during this time. She was a lovely woman and I have very fond wonderful memories with all of you.

    Love for all of you,

  23. I am so sorry for your loss, George and family. Your compassion, honesty and courage has both moved and affected me deeply. Though I do not know you or Sue personally, your walk has inspired me, and, no doubt, many others. God's peace to you. Sean

  24. I'm so sorry for you and your family. I don't know if you will remember me, Linda (Rogalsky). I remember you and Sue when Dorris and I hung around a lot together. Sue was always so bright and had an awesome passion for God. I praise God she is now cancer free, singing and praising in His choir. My prayers will be with you and your family. Linda

  25. George and family

    May you be wrapped in the arms of Jesus as you also need confort at this time. Thanks you for sharing your love of Sue and concerns with all of us.

    Jo Ann

  26. I am so very sorry for your loss. We will be praying for your family.

  27. Susan will be missed. She wll not be in her usual chair next to Cindy and Maggie bidding on Quilts at th MCC sale this year.
    Praying for you as you face the days ahead.

  28. George,
    It is so hard losing a sister, let alone my twin. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity and pleasure of meeting your wonderful wife. She cheered me up on numerous occasions and always had such a positive attitude. We set off on this journey together and I am so saddened to not have her by my side anymore. She had so many wonderful talents and love for life. She talked of you and your daughters all the time when I was with her. I am happy though that she no longer has to suffer from this cancer. I have been very fortunate with mine, but when it's time to be called home to our Heavenly Father, it's time to go. I have enjoyed reading your blogs and hope they continue. My heart goes out to you and your family. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Love, Peggie

  29. George,
    I was diagnosed with MM the same time as Sue and have been a faithful reader of both your blogs. MM is a “beastly” disease but there was much beauty in Sue’s life. To have such love and devotion by you, the girls, her extended family and cherished friends was such a blessing for her. I too, have the most wonderful husband, extraordinary, amazing sons and loving supportive extended family and friends. Some people will live to be one hundred and never experience these priceless gifts. The way you and the girls “let her go” was done with amazing grace and dignity. Although Sue was robbed of seeing your daughters get married and possibly experiencing the joys of grandchildren, she did have a life filled with so very much.
    I am happy that she is finally out of pain and may peace be with her, you and your family at this very difficult time. You and yours will always hold a special place in my heart.

  30. George,

    The grace that Sue lived her life before and after her diagnosis has been a great testimony to her faith and the love she had for her savior. She has taught me much and I will remember her lessons for a lifetime. You and Jess and Val are in my prayers and loving thoughts. May God continue to grant you the peace you need at this time.


  31. Cameron (Elder) RoofApril 1, 2010 at 6:49 AM

    I'm so sorry to hear about Susan! Our thoughts and prayers are with you and the girls. I'm so thankful for the time that I had with Susan at Keola all those summers, she was so strong and such an example for me.
    I pray for a comfort and peace for you and the girls and am so happy that Susan is now cancer-free!

  32. Our hearts go out to you and your family. Sue was an amazing person.
    Thank you for sharing your heart and journey with us in your blog. What an amazing witness of faith and strength. A real legacy for your family.
    You are in our thoughts and prayers.
    Neola, John and family

  33. Dear George,
    My wife was told yesterday that she has secondaries and the prognosis is not good. Your blog has helped me already. So, sorry for your loss. Lots of love from Dukinfield in the United Kingdom.

  34. Dear George and Val and Jess,

    I have fond and loving memories of Susan at Camp Keola and various Mennonite womens' conferences. She was a wonderful person. We are all richer for having known her. So sorry for your loss.

    Sincerely, Darlene Scalf

  35. George,

    We heard the news all the way up here in Canada. Yes, Canada. Life IS strange isn't it? Stranger than fiction some will say... too TRUE! Our thoughts and prayers are with you as you rediscover yourself in a different way... a widower, without your life-partner... any title one gives it. If you EVER want an excuse to come north and visit Edmonton, Alberta... we'd be more than happy to have you... :o). May God's undiminished peace be nestled deep in your soul that you may draw from it whenever needed. Love to you George.

    The Key Family

  36. George;

    From Oregon, I offer you my most sincere condolences.

    Thank you for the forthright way you wrote about everything.

  37. George, Val, and Jess
    Today is Easter and Jesus is alive. The exciting thing is that Sue is with Him. I am not sure how long it will be until I am too, but I am looking forward to seeing Susan again. Hope you have a very Happy Easter.
    Love, Peggie

  38. George, Val and Jess,

    Gail H. and Joann P. shared your blog with us. We were saddened to hear of Sue's illness and death. We remember learning to know Sue when she was going to Cal Poly (?) and attending First Mennonite in Paso Robles.

    It was my honor to explore her faith in Christ with her and confirm her faith through baptism.

    And we have joyful memories of times at Keola. Oh how helpful the two of you were to this 'green' pastor who sought to serve as camp dean to an interesting collection of high school youth.

    Our hearts are grieving as we remember the beginnings of your life together as a fun-loving couple. And 'By Goerge', we have enjoyed keeping up a bit through your Christmas letters through the years.

    Grace and Peace in the love of our Lord and Savior Jesus as you walk on. May the peace of Christ guard your hearts and minds through the ups and downs of each day, patient in the day when we shall be together with the Lord.

    Jim and Barb Voth

  39. Dear George, Val, and Jess,
    I just read your blog and am just trying to let the news of Sue's death really sink in. I am so sorry and I just can't believe she's gone. I think I first met Sue when I was 8 years old and she must have been about 12. Sue and her family were such a part of my life growing up in Jamul. I sit here remembering and I am struck with such a multitude of emotions. You guys have shown amazing grace and strength throughout all this. May you somehow continue to be richly blessed beyond anything you could ever imagine. I find it somehow wonderfully fitting that you had Sue's service on the Easter weekend. I wish my mother, Blossom and I could have been there. But know that we continue to think of you. Thank you George for sharing the journey with all of us who have been separated by time and distance.
    Much love to you and your girls,
    Sheri Snively

  40. You and the girls are in our prayers. I will miss Sue so much! She was such a great inspiration and I want to be like her when I grow up. She had such peace, love and grace. What a wonderful testimony she is. I know she was very proud of you, George and how especially attentive and loving you were to her this last year. Debbie and Ron B

  41. Dear Mr. Harper,
    My name is Brenda Brito, my brother, sister, and i used to help Mrs. Harper correct papers, I am not sure if you remember us. We just found out what happened, and I have no words to express my sorrow; I also don't have an imagination large enough to imagine what you and your family are going through. I can only say that she is now resting in peace, and with all of our prayers she will enter God's kingdom and watch us all. My most serious and respectful condolences,
    Brenda Brito

  42. Mr. Harper,
    My name is Mark Baxter, I have recentley found this blog on the internet. I knew Sue many years ago in Jamul. There are no words that I can say to express my sorrow for your family and close friends for the loss of Sue. She was truley a shining light in this world. I have thought about her many times through the years. May she rest in peace. My condolences. Mark Baxter
    My prayers are with you and all the family