Bad News On The Phone

I don’t know all the details yet. She had an infection. It got out of hand. By the time she got to the hospital it was too late. She stopped breathing. Gone. Just like that.

I was groggy when I picked up the phone this morning. The voice on the other end seemed groggy too. I heard the words, but didn’t quite comprehend.

“Sue’s dead.”

It was my friend, my secretive friend from the San Fernando Valley. Sue is his wife. I’ve known him over 40 years, her around 35.

I don’t know all the details yet. She had an infection. It got out of hand. By the time she got to the hospital it was too late. She stopped breathing. Gone. Just like that.

I can’t imagine what the family is going through.

I met Sue not long after she began dating my friend. It was obvious he was getting the better end of that deal. She was the archetype California girl, blond, beautiful and understated. He was the rougher New Yorker trying to find his way in Hollywood.

Back then Sue was working as a page at NBC. There is video somewhere of her handing Johnny Carson the prize envelope on “Stump the Band.”

I remember when she got me tickets to the show. “Tell them you’re supposed to sit D. I. F.,” she said. It was the page’s code for “down in front.” It worked.

She called me Geoffy. I’m not sure when it started. A nickname like that needs familiarity. It doesn’t come quickly.

The nickname pleased me, especially the way she said it.

Sue was full of goodness. If she held grudges I never saw them.

She was altruistic. Merriam-Webster defines that as “unselfish regard for or devotion to the welfare of others.” They might as well just put her picture there too.

I will miss her like crazy. It just doesn’t seem right that in an instant she was gone. It isn’t right.

29 thoughts on “Bad News On The Phone”

  1. Please accept my sincerest condolences for your loss. Be strong for your friend, Geoff. He will need you and Helaine to get through the next chapter of his life. You have written about him so much, it’s obvious what dear friends you are. SIGH.

  2. Oh Geoff, I am so sorry. It is hard losing a friend, and the fact that it was so sudden and unexpected makes it even worse, if it could be any worse.

    The best thing you can do in Sue’s memory is to be the best friend you can be to Paul and Aaron. And you are very good at doing just that, I am sure.

    Do you plan to go out to CA?

  3. My deepest sympathy Geoff for the loss of your friend Sue. Paul and Aaron will need you through this very trying time. It will help them to have a good friend by their side who is just a phone call away. I hope you all find strength with God’s help in family, friends and beautiful memories of Sue. God Bless. I’m so very sorry.

  4. Geoff – such tragic news. Condolences to you and your friend/family. We come to realize with age/experience that on the blink of an eye our world can change dramatically. Breathe deep, hang in there for your friend and for yourself.

  5. I’m deeply saddened to hear this news. I met Sue when we were both working on the Oscars telecast. As a professional, there was none better. She was my go-to when I needed something, and she always came through. Above all, she was simply a lovely human being. Although I did not know her nearly as long as you have, I can second your kind words. My thoughts are with Paul and Aaron tonight, as well as the other people who loved her.

  6. Geoff, sorry to hear about your friend. Good people are dying much too young, these days. It’s especially difficult,when they touch your heart so deeply. My condolences to her husband. 🙁

  7. So sorry for your loss Geoff, so sudden, makes it all that more difficult to understand and accept. I will say a prayer for your friend and his family!

  8. Thoughts and prayers to you and your “secretive friend”. Lost my beloved husband at the age of 51, so I know the sadness and pain. Please share that your friends in CT are thinking of him.

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