Saturday, May 2, 2009

Sue Jakiela

I first met Sue about 5 years ago. She brought her daughter, Esther, into one of my dance classes and I remember being struck by her quiet strength that just emanated from her. As I got to know Sue over the next few years, I discovered that her walk with the Lord was tremendous. She was one of those people who trusted her God for every single thing in life, was optimistic in everything, knowing that she would be taken care of and that nothing was too much for her to bear, as long as her Lord was beside her. Her son, Caleb, had a hearing dysfunction, which later contributed to learning problems once he was of school age. Still, Sue was strong. She was an inspiration to all, she would light up a room the instant she walked into it. She took care of her body, eating so healthy (I never understood how she could do that!), ran miles every week.

About 15 months ago, Sue came to the studio to drop Esther off and sat in the waiting area like she had done every Monday evening for the last 4 years. I noticed that she was holding her head off to the side, and naturally asked if she was okay. "Oh, I just woke up with this kink in my neck the other day and it will not go away!", she said. A trip to the doctor's later on that week revealed nothing. Sue told me the following Monday that the doctor had wanted to prescribe anti-depressants, since apparently that would solve everything. Because of the strength of her faith, Sue refused, stating that she knew that it was not an emotional issue that was causing the problem.

The following week, Sue was not there. Her husband was dropping off Esther, which was unusual. When I asked if she was okay, I heard those dreaded, dreaded words. Sue has cancer. I'm sure that utter shock must have registered on my face. "It can't possibly be!", I thought. Sue, of all people. The woman who had taken quite literally that her body was a temple of the Holy Spirit. The woman whose faith was a rock. That woman could not possibly have cancer.

As the details started pouring in, it was discovered that Sue had Stage 4 cancer in her collarbone and also her liver. Aggressive treatments were started immediately to try to slow the spread of the disease. I didn't see Sue for a while, but received updates from her husband often, and I called and emailed on occasion to find out how she was.

Last June, I was very surprised by Sue's presence at the dance recital. I struggled through several conversations with her that day. She had always been very thin, but she was down to about 90 pounds at this point. The chemo was ravaging her body and was not as effective as the doctors had hoped. She had started on experimental treatments in hopes that they would achieve better results.

That was the last time I saw Sue. I received word early this afternoon that Sue had fought, fought so hard, but had lost her battle with cancer. She went to be with the Lord at around 8 this morning. She was determined that the cancer would not get the best of her, and it never did. She kept her faith and her optimism until the very end. I know that she used her sickness to witness to many, and to be an inspiration to all she met.

In times like this, it is impossible to not ask why. Why?? With all of the Osama bin Laden's in the world. Of all those who spread hate, and agony, and misery.... Why someone like Sue? I heard it put so very well one time that God chooses the strong of faith and heart to endure these awful things sometimes because He knows their hearts. He knows their faith. He knows that they will be the epitome of His love because of the essence of who they are. Because they love Him above all else and will keep that in front of them at all times. Because they will be an inspiration and a walking testament of God's unfailing love and faithfulness in their lives. It is one of those things that is very hard for those that love them to accept. I don't want to accept it. But, I will. Knowing that God has her best in mind. That she was used of her Father in tremendous ways, and there can be no regrets there.

Sue, you will never be forgotten. We love you and will miss you terribly. Thank you for everything that your life meant, for all that you are, for what you were to your family and friends. Thank you for your life and the blessing that it was.


Karen Petersen Pasquel said...

This is a beautiful tribute to a wonderful person! Bless you, Karen Pasquel

Kimberly said...


You dont know me, but I knew Sue. I met her thru my mom when they worked together at Wegmans.

I just heard about Sue last night. I wish I had known because my mom and I would have been at her memorial yesterday. She was a very strong lady and an incredible person to know. She took every opportunity she had to witness for the Lord. My heart is smiling knowing she is out of pain and with her Father! Praise Him!

As a mother also, my prayers are with Caleb and Esther. I am also keeping her husband in prayer too. I know they are dealing with the pain of losing such a special person.

Thank you for your kind and thoughtful words about Sue. May He continue to bless.

Kimberly Kopke

Kimberly said...


I knew Sue thru my mom when they both worked at Wegman's a few years ago.

Sue was a wonderful, strong woman who loved and trusted the Lord. She truly leaned on Him to give her strength. She was a great testament to her faith and an incredible witness for our Lord. She used every opportunity to speak of His power, especially thru the course of her illness.

I will remember her smiling and laughing with her kids. I will also keep her family in my prayers, as Im sure it must especially difficult them.

Thank you for your kind words about Sue. May He continue to bless you.

Kimberly Kopke

Mama Janna said...

Oh Beth I am so sorry, I didn't Know Sue, but she sounds like the loveliest of women and your did her a great honor here with your words.