On Susan’s Death

Susan Jeanne Briscoe
November 13, 1966 – August 31, 2018

It is with great sorrow that we announce the death of Susan on Friday, August 31, 2018 in Montreal at the McGill University Health Centre (Glen) palliative ward. Her sons, Oliver and Nathan, and her beloved partner, Roy Cross, were by her side. Susan also leaves to mourn her parents Bob and Raye Briscoe, sisters Lorraine and Tracey, brother Rob, nine nieces and nephews, and numerous dear friends.

Susan was born and raised in Montreal. After completing a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature at McGill University, Susan moved to Vancouver and worked at a women’s shelter before returning home to Montreal, where her sons were born. Susan’s greatest joy in life were her two sons: Oliver and Nathan. She moved from Montreal to Sutton when her boys were young to give them freedom to roam, explore, and blossom. She home-schooled them at times, and dedicated herself to parenting with love, compassion, and kindness. They were most precious to her and she was so proud of the men they would become.

Susan loved nature and felt deeply connected to all living things; she was particularly fond of the hills and woods and streams of the Eastern Townships. The simple act of walking barefoot over mossy fields, or through tall grasses with bare legs, or witnessing bright sunlight beaming through a tree leaf, brought her such bliss. While living in Sutton she completed a certificate in Fine Arts at Bishop’s University, and earned a Master’s degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from Concordia University. Her book of poetry, The Crow’s Vow, was highly praised and regarded as an exceptional work.

Susan was a teacher and researcher at Dawson College in Montreal when she fell ill. After her terminal diagnosis, Susan created The Death Project, a blog in which she beautifully and honestly wrote about living and dying. The blog has touched tens of thousands of readers from all over the world. Susan loved art in all forms and took great pleasure in gallery visits, the ballet, circus, theatre, and cinema. Her taste in music ranged from Bach to Bowie to New Order. She recently created a special Canada Council for the Arts award to support women writers.

And oh, Susan’s radiant, brilliant, wonderful smile! To see it was to feel love. She lived her life with integrity, grace, dignity, and great joy. She encouraged people to give their gifts to the world, to be honest, to be kind, and — most of all — to love. Susan’s light and love will be deeply missed by everyone who knew her.

The Gentian weaves her fringes—
The Maple’s loom is red—
My departing blossoms
Obviate parade.
A brief, but patient illness—
An hour to prepare—
And one, below this morning,
Is where the angels are—
It was a short procession—
The Bobolink was there—
An aged Bee addressed us—
And then we knelt in prayer—
We trust that she was willing—
We ask that we may be—
Summer, Sister, Seraph!
Let us go with thee!
In the name of the Bee—
And of the Butterfly—
And of the Breeze, Amen!
Emily Dickinson

Special thanks to the oncology department at the Jewish General Hospital and the palliative care unit at the MUHC (Glen). There will be a private ecological burial in the Knowlton Cemetery. A memorial service and reception will be held at the Unitarian Church, 5035 de Maisonneuve Blvd. West, Montreal on Saturday, September 8, 2018 at 3:00 p.m. Additionally, those who so wish are welcome to celebrate Susan’s life with her family at the Briscoe’s home, 15 Spring Hill, Knowlton, Quebec on Friday, September 7, 2018 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to a women’s shelter and/or your local blood bank.

About susanbriscoe

English teacher, writer
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55 Responses to On Susan’s Death

  1. Lauren Mackay says:

    A beautiful tribute.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Ana Daksina says:

    Susan did so much good for so many! I know her Soul is rising very high. Blessings and love to her family and loved ones — and all the many, many friends she made all over the world.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Denise Regan says:

    Please accept my sincere condolences. I believe Susan found peace. I pray for all those she left behind. She will forever be in your hearts. RIP 🙏🏼❤️

    Liked by 5 people

  4. A beautiful tribute indeed! I knew this day would be coming but it is such a shock all the same. Her blog posts were beautiful and wonderfully inspiring. I only wish I’d been able to meet her in person. I have a feeling that the memorial get together will be quite something! God bless,

    Liked by 5 people

  5. A beautiful tribute indeed! I knew this day would be coming but it is such a shock all the same. Her blog posts were beautiful and wonderfully inspiring. I only wish I’d been able to meet her in person. I have a feeling that the memorial get together will be quite something! God bless

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Susan Gillis says:

    Oh what gifts Susan leaves to this world, what enormous gifts of beauty, love and meaning. My deepest, heartfelt condolences on her passing to all who loved and continue to love her.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Val Boyko says:

    Her presence is no longer with us, but the memories and her loving spirit remain. Thank you for sharing here and letting us know. My heart goes out to you, the family and to everyone that Susan has touched. 💕

    Liked by 4 people

  8. I loved reading her thoughts and her willingness to share her journey. Suzanne

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Cate says:

    Deepest sympathy for your loss, and boundless gratitude for Susan’s courage and generosity in sharing this chapter of her well-lived life, and yours. This is a lovely tribute; I am glad you included that she chose an ecological burial, aligning her death with her life.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. roninjax says:

    We offer our sincere condolences. My thoughts and prayers are with you. I was amazed how Susan shared with others what she was experiencing – and no doubt has been a blessing to others. Her words and kindness will continue to live, as well as her memories within each of you who shared life and love so well. May God provide special strength and help during these difficult times.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. Elly Jackson says:

    I “knew”her only through this blog, but I feel her loss, her voice now silent. Thank you to all who so loved Susan and helped her to keep her own exquisite words pouring out to so many others, and speaking for myself, farewell dear lovely lady.

    Liked by 4 people

  12. I loved to read her posts….honest and from the heart, not always easy, but life isn’t.
    Her words and thoughts will be missed dearly.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Daniela Rios says:

    Such and inspiring woman that will always be remember for her bravery, she touched many lives. My sincere condolences.
    Farewell dear Susan.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. christi72013 says:

    Rest in Peace my sweet Susan. Thank you Roy for sharing, my condolence to you.
    Peace and love Chrissie

    Liked by 3 people

  15. Marianne Thorborg says:

    Sending my love and sincere condolences. May peace be within all of you who were close to Susan and may she serve as a spark of inspiration to us all for all that she was. I never met her but still she made a deep impression on me, through her writing and what was shared about her.

    Liked by 4 people

  16. simoneaholder says:

    I am deeply saddened to hear of Susan’s death. She was a high school friend of mine. She was smart, kind, and oh that big, beautiful smile. Rest In Peace dear friend. xoxo

    Liked by 4 people

  17. Perpetua says:

    Thank you, Susan, for sharing your life with us. With prayer sympathy and condolences to her partner, children, friends and community.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Pingback: She touched me. | Life Is Like That

  19. Thank you for sharing your journey with us,Susan. Please say hello to my Lori when you see her.

    Liked by 3 people

  20. Brian says:

    So sad to hear this news. Susan, I favourably reviewed your book, Crow’s Vow, and only briefly met you afterwards, but have been especially awed and inspired by your brave and beautiful writing in your blog, the Death Project. I think that’s a very important legacy… along with, of course, all the personal legacies left with friends and family. Condolences to all those who knew and loved you. RIP.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. I am a follower of Susan’s blog. She was a brave woman, filled with grace and dignity. I know that she helped many who were dealing with adversity in their lives. I shall miss her. May memories of happy times bring some comfort to her loved ones.

    Liked by 3 people

  22. curioussteph says:

    The end was labeled in the beginning, and still there is surprise, it happened. Thank you for your wonderful writing and including so many of us on your journey. An inspiration. Peace to all.

    Liked by 3 people

  23. Kat Acebuche says:

    Thank you Susan for all these wonderful things you’ve left us with. Rest in peace. Condolences to your family and loved ones.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Kat Acebuche says:

    Reblogged this on katacheme and commented:
    Goodbye, Susan! Thank you for leaving us with all these wonderful stories on your blog. Rest in Peace, dear Susan!

    Liked by 3 people

  25. graphicgrub says:

    So sorry. All the best for the family. You need to live and so remember her.

    Liked by 3 people

  26. spyrorondos says:

    I came late to this but still feel the shock. Our condolences to the family.

    Liked by 2 people

  27. I’m sorry to hear this news. I read Susan’s blog here in England, and was moved and inspired by her writing. Thank you to her for sharing her story with us.

    Liked by 3 people

  28. Evie says:

    Oh, so sad. But at peace. I found her blog only last year. she seemed a beautiful lady. I enjoyed her writings. God bless her family & friends. Evelyn from Australia!

    Liked by 3 people

  29. Raimondoo says:

    Sad news to start my day by..however comforting to know you will rest in peace Susan. Thank you for what you have shared. You leave light in me and will be remembered..

    Liked by 3 people

  30. sadiewolf2014 says:

    Sending love and light to Susan, and to Susan’s family and friends. I have loved and appreciated her blog very much.

    Liked by 3 people

  31. Create Space says:

    I have read and commented on many of Susan’s insightful and inspiring blog posts. I am sad to hear of her passing, still unprepared, despite it being the theme of her writing. I hope Roy will continue to share the weeks ahead, I’m sure it will be of comfort to many husbands/partners who find it difficult to understand and share their feelings. Marie from Ireland.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Roy Cross says:

      Dear Marie, Thank you so much for the kind note. I have not written a lot in the past few months but for incomplete works and some diary type texts. I feel that I might return to writing. Lots has transpired and I have learned much! Thank you for letting me know that it might be of some help.

      Liked by 2 people

  32. I’ve been thinking about Susan, wondering how she was doing. Because of the lengthy silence since her last post, I suspected she was declining. I’m very sorry to hear of her passing. She was truly an inspiration while she lived, and I’m sure the inspiration will continue whatever she does next. Blessings and comfort to Susan and all her loved ones and friends.

    Liked by 2 people

  33. Betsy Thomas says:

    I am so sad. Her voice was so clear and strong and full of grace. My heart is full for those left behind – wishing them courage and sending much love.

    Liked by 3 people

  34. Ross White says:

    Sorry to hear this sad but inevitable news. I never met Susan but I admired her courage and dignity in addressing the last days of her life, and shining a light on a subject that is so often shrouded in shadows. Condolences to all her family and friends

    Liked by 2 people

  35. kuwe jahe says:

    Rest in peace. much Love.

    Liked by 2 people

  36. Suze says:

    Susan and her blog came into my life immediately after my first heart attack…and her grace and joy in life during her impending death brought me out of my own self-misery and into a much better place. I am so grateful for the discussions we had, the posts she wrote and the love she shared with all of us. Please know that every single one of us who followed her blog wish her family and friends the very best and have our heartfelt thanks and empathy.

    Liked by 3 people

  37. mthorius says:

    I’m so sorry. She was a wonderful spirit. I always gained so much from her blog. God bless all of you.

    Liked by 2 people

  38. ustome says:

    My heart is aching with this news and I am thinking of you all. I came across Susan’s blog when my father was dying and I was desparate to find something to help. I always appreciated Susan’s posts and enjoyed reading them and being strengthened by them. I can only imagine what a wonderful person she must have been in real life. Try to find comfort in the fact that this very special lady touched the lives of many and will not be forgotten. God bless xx

    Liked by 2 people

  39. Jean Coléno says:

    Thank you for this tribute, which beautifully describes Susan. I’m glad you mentioned her unforgettable smile, which was indeed radiant!

    Susan was a talented writer, a devoted parent and friend, and a good, kindhearted person. Her courage was an inspiration to us all. My sincere condolences to her family and loved ones.

    Liked by 3 people

  40. Erin says:

    Beautiful tribute. I have not read Susan’s blog or book. But now I will. And I am sure I
    Will tell others of it.

    Liked by 2 people

  41. rysieblog says:

    Deepest condolences to her family and friends. What a beautiful tribute to a wonderful woman. Her honesty and insights were remarkable to read.

    Liked by 2 people

  42. Diane Russell says:

    I met Susan about a year ago at the MUHC when she came in for a medical procedure.She had a huge impact on me both personally and professionally and I will never forget her which somehow seems crazy to say about someone that you met only once and only for a couple of hours.But from all the messages that I am reading I guess that happened a lot for with Susan. The first thing that struck me about her was her big beautiful smile and the calmness and acceptance that she had about her even while coming for a difficult test. I was lucky to have spent a couple of hours with her and it was after this that I started reading her blog. I loved reading her blogs and felt like I knew her personally after reading them.I am so sorry for your loss and hope that you can take comfort in the fact that she left this world a better place.

    Liked by 2 people

  43. Daniel Laguitton says:

    Dear Susan, whose name has meant “lily”, “rose” and “lotus” in ancient cultures, you have crossed the mirror whose reflections we so often mistake for reality. Your smiling Buddha face is imprinted in my mind and will remain my visual memory of you. My condolences to Roy, Oliver, Nathan, your parents and extended family, and all those who have been privileged to know you and to receive some of that undefinable and immaterial fluid that radiated from you : for lack of a completely satisfactory word, let’s call it Grace. Thank you, Susan.

    Liked by 2 people

  44. tessablanc says:

    My condolences to Susan’s family–you all (and we too) had in Susan a powerhouse of delicacy, wisdom, and spirit. I just wanted to share with you that I woke up in the middle of the night having had a dream, or a “visitation,” from Susan. In this dream she rang my doorbell, walked into my kitchen. She was her old pre-illness self again, slight, impish, wearing a short dress with a flower print and a cardigan, her long, long hair a new light auburn that practically crackled with vitality, and incredible light and life emanated from it. I asked her, “What do you do ‘over there'”? She answered in that serene sing-song voice of hers, like a little bell, “Oh, I find I get to dance quite a bit.” The dream was so vivid that I woke up and haven’t since been able to go back to sleep. I like to think that this was indeed Susan, still choosing to share the awe she feels about everything that surrounds us and that we may or may not see.

    Liked by 2 people

  45. Hilary Lynch says:

    Raye, Bob and Fammily, Tom and I are heartbroken for you all and are sending huge hugs, prayers and love to you during this difficult time!
    Tom and Hilary Lynch

    Liked by 2 people

  46. Dan Bohn says:

    I’ve come to know Susan via her blog site. Being new to blogging, searching out how others blog the title “Death Project” caught my attention. I quickly warmed up to her honesty, dedication, and insight to life. Correspondence with Susan bolstered my comfort level towards writing, and appreciating every day given to me. Knowing Susan in this way enriches me, thank you Susan. Her entire site is a celebration of life. My condolences to her close friends and family.
    Dan Bohn

    Liked by 2 people

  47. Thank you to Susan for documenting her journey so others could learn from her experience and to her family for sharing her. Fly free. Much love and condolences to those who will miss her.

    Liked by 2 people

  48. Amanda says:

    God bless you Susan. I don’t know how I would have coped with my boyfriend’s cancer diagnosis without your posts. You gave me so much comfort. My condolences to your family, you will be remembered and missed.

    Liked by 2 people

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