Nearly three decades ago, I began dating a woman - it lasted seven plus years. I was 21 when we met; she was 17 and it was - for all intents and purposes - love at first sight. We had a lot of happy times together; we had a life together and in many ways, we truly grew up together. We parted company in early 1994 and when we said our verbal goodbyes, that was the last time we ever spoke.
Two days ago, I received a message from a friend who I haven't seen in almost the same amount of time. He told me that this woman - my ex-girlfriend - had been battling cancer for the last few years and had died this past Saturday. I know what I read in his message - but I still am not able grasp it; the numbness that came over me seeing those words has not left my body or my mind.
I cannot pretend to say anything more than this: my heart is broken for her family, who my first thoughts are turned to. My prayers, love and deepest respect go out to them. To anyone who knew her, I will hope they treasure her memory and the joy of having had her in their lives.
For me - I was just her boyfriend, once upon a time. I will always remember her as that beautiful, kind girl who loved me and I loved in return. And I will always love Susan as she is forever a part of me.