WTF Wednesday 09:
 Celebrating Sue Breen

My friend Sue is courageously compassionate. She’s feisty and forgiving. Resilient, patient and shrewd. She’s an ardent advocate of every underdog. Her sense of humour’s dark and quick. She has smiling irish eyes.

Sue stays open to the hard truths among us. Where most avert our eyes and minds, Sue bravely sees and serves. With a wide open heart, Sue strides to the aid of suffering strangers and, despite slews of tearful endings, Sue selflessly shines light and love where it’s needed most.

She’s a leathersmith, a poet, an animal care specialist, a musician, a rescuer, a painter, a youth worker, a victor. Her rescued and nurtured-to-health-or-heaven critter count is in the hundreds. And she can work wonders with photoshop and a frog.

Though she’s far exceeded her quota for both hardships and heroics, Sue uses neither to define or preen herself. She’s real about her ups and downs. And receptive, perceptive and wise about those of her friends.

Sue’s made a home away from home for our sweet Phaedra. She showers our adoring teens with lavish gifts of time, attention, training and zeal. And when I’m flattened by my gremlins, Sue’s magic is reviving.

Sue shares her understanding, her perspective and her heart.

In The Beginning

When I met Sue, she was Sue-from-Berry’s — a community fixture. Our local pet care sage.

It was 1997 and we were adjusting to life with Mark’s new dog, Pepper. Unprepared and clueless as usual, Mark and I leaned heavily on Sue’s hugely helpful advice.

Life soon got away from us. With Mark between jobs, a messy home-reno, an energetic two year old and a baby on the way, Pepper moved to a better home. And Sue-from-Berry’s sightings became rare passing smiles and waves.

Eight solid years of Lucy-dog-pining later: Enter Phaedra. Then, BAM!, my diagnosis and Sue-from-Berry’s became Phaedra’s Auntie Sue, hosting our sweet pup while our in-shock family regrouped. And for so many weekends since.

Somewhere between then and now, Sue became family.
In the very best sense.

Lucky us.


Epic Then

In our Pepper days, Sue advised us on the feeding and care of our sweet little pooch.

Little did we know how close we’d become.



Epic Now

These days, Sue’s a glinting thread in our family fabric. Unbeknownst to her, I’m sure, she’s front and centre in our every day.

Mornings, we check in on facebook; Luba have lucky Sue encounters en route to dog park or school. Attempting to connect with Sue is a 4pm standard. And few stretches of days pass without an Auntie Sue dog-walk or visit.

Lucy and Bayla are constantly keen to bake for her, to share her time and rollick in her ever-evolving menagerie. Where I might get a “fine” or grunt, our teens are chatty and receptive with Sue, bemoaning parental injustices, sharing excitement, hashing over recent events. And accepting Sue’s firm yet gentle, timely rebukes.

Phaedra goes nuts when Sue’s nearby. And any of us who are decent spill out to the sidewalk in socks or slippers to catch up.

Sue’s magically both friend and mentor to every member of our family.
I don’t know how she does it. I’m just glad she does.

University of Sue

Sue deflates the obstacles to compassionate action so that maybe, possibly, some day I could be brave too.

As deep as she may find herself in trials of her own, Sue bravely tends, rescues, nurtures and protects. From squirrels to streetkids, she comforts judgement-free. And shares her fine example — without shaming me.

Sue debunks the threats of injury and inconvenience that keep me from doing good. And shows me the beauty that lies on the other side.

Sue gives me hope for the future of our planet.
And her stirring example is making kinder, wiser Lucy, Bayla and me.

Fantasy Fabulosity

If I could magically conjure a next adventure with Sue, I would pick a four-day weekend of property maintenance, chimphouse work and priceless love and learning at the Fauna Chimp Sanctuary, near Chambly Quebec. Sue, Lucy, Bayla, Mark and me.

We’d load the car with snacks and wellies, starting the weekend with a giddy roadtrip — Sue bravely bearing the teen-infested back-seat.

We’d work hard every day. Raking, painting and grooming the gorgeous grounds. Slopping out goat, horse, llama and donkey stalls. Feeding pigs and geese. Laundering, cleaning. And, best of all, crafting toys, treats and piñatas to shine some love into the lives of abused and rescued primates.

We’d get a life-changing taste of Sue’s signature eudaimonic joy. We’d learn long-lasting lessons on love, compassion, responsibility and respect.

And we’d have buicéads of fun.

Related Links:



WhatI’m Thankful For.
Why They’re Fab.
What Terrific Folk.
Why The Face?
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