For a week I went back and forth on whether I should write privately to several people or write about it here. In the end I chose to do it publicly.
Suzanne Keller who some of you know from the Suzanne’s Perfume Journal (formerly Eiderdown Press) passed from this life on May 5th.
Suzanne was a wonderful friend – kind, supportive, attentive and generous. We met just once but we periodically exchanged e-mails, and I hoped to spend more time with her in the upcoming years. I believed we had all those years ahead of us, so what is 3-4 months of missed comments or even just “likes” on posts when my life was so busy and hectic, right?
I didn’t know her illness came back. I didn’t know she was dying. And it was only when a note I sent to her to inquire whether everything was fine returned to me, undelivered, I discovered that both of her sites were down (her perfume journal and a site about her pet rabbit Boxer whom you met last December at Rusty’s 10th anniversary), ran some searches and found out what happened.
I assume that taking sites down was Suzanne’s choice, and she didn’t want to leave her thoughts out there in the digital Universe after she’d be gone. But it makes me even sadder: she was such a talented writer! And she wrote not only about perfumes: once she shared some chapters of the book she was working on – one more thing that I was sure would happen at some point in the future…
Since we met and communicated a lot on the topic of perfumes, I have dozens of perfume connections with Suzanne: if you were to run a search in my blog, you’d see how often she came up in my posts (and it’s not even counting her thoughtful and extremely kind comments). But at the moment all that doesn’t feel significant enough to write about (maybe in several months).
I could write about how her death has affected me – but it seems wrong too because there are so many people in her family for whom it’s an enormous loss, so compared to their grief whatever I feel is just a tiny prick.
I am grieving but I feel a little like an impostor: I’m not sure if Suzanne needed me in her last months, but I didn’t even try to be “there.” I was busy, I was sick, I didn’t know she was sick again, I thought she just lost interest in perfumes since she wasn’t wearing them any longer, I was waiting for her next post about Boxer, I was very busy, and there supposed to be tomorrow, next month, next year… I don’t have regrets that I didn’t get to talk to her, say or do something. But I regret if there was at least a moment when she would have felt even a tad better had I found time to send the same note I sent a month too late.
While Suzanne’s perfume stories would probably disappear forever, I want to remind those who read these before and share with those who hadn’t links to two interviews Suzanne gave 6 years ago: one at the Purple Paper Planes and one at the Olfactoria’s Travels. Who’s better to tell us about her than she herself?
She was such a beautiful person, so whether you knew her or not, if you’re reading this, please do something beautiful for somebody in your life with her name in heart. And send warm thoughts into the Universe to those who is affected the most by Suzanne’s untimely death.