Susan Hattie Steinsapir

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> Andreas,
> I know you've had about a million messages, and probably won't get to 
> read mine..but my heart aches for you.  I miss her and I didn't even know 
> her.  I feel sad, and I don't know what to do.  I am so sorry.
> Catherine

Dear Catherine, I read every single one. And cry over nearly every one. Thank you very much for writing.

Last night, after all of the families arrived in Sacramento, several of us began to tell the others (non-net) family about all of you on the net. They asked me if they could see these messages. I set up my laptop and our families crowded around and began to read the messages, silently paging down. Soon, everyone was crying again. There are so many beautiful and sad messages, of people weeping in New Zealand, of people writing from Canada, of people saddened in England... our pain and sorrow is shared by so many.

Dear Catherine, I've cried since Sunday. I can't believe the sense of loss of my wife, my best friend, and my buddy. Me and Susan had a great time together.

So maybe I'll tell you about her funeral. It's made me feel better; I still feel the sense of loss, but I've also gotten so much from others. So many of you are grieving so it'll help the sorrow a bit to hear that Susan had a nice burial.

On a Wednesday, at 2 pm, in light rain, we held her funeral. It's a small jewish cementary, right across the street from one of Susan's favorite Vietnamese restaurants. 102 people signed the guest book. We could have opened a university: there were lawyers, doctors, professors, engineers, computer people, politicians, writers, and so many other people. Dan Flynn (who Susan met only a few months ago via the net in a discussion about Sacramento restaurants) found a friend at the city newspaper who interviewed Ellen (Susan's sister) and wrote an article with a photo that appeared in the papers this morning. It talked about how Susan had touched so many on the net. Many of Susan's legal colleages and others came because of the article. Thanks, Dan.

Susan was dressed in a simple but beautiful dress, along with a favorite necklace. She went in style: she wore her favorite sparkling, bejeweled shoes. I included photos of her cats, wedding photos of us, small personal mementos, and her favorite Henckels chef's knife.

Susan's closed casket was a pale pink; we placed a portrait of her beside it and a lit candle. There were a number of floral sets.

The service was led by a cantor who sang several songs and spoke: he reminded us that we should ask ourselves "what did Susan teach us? What did we teach her?"

Several family members gave short eulogies; Mo Miller read a longer version of her e-mail that she posted here the other day. I printed several poems that many of you have sent and some of these were read: Cris Derrick's poem and Michelle Campbell's poems were read. Ken (Susan's brother) read Vicki Braun's "Death in Cyberspace" posting. Other family and friends talked and remembered Susan.

Afterwards, six pallbearers carried Susan to her resting place.

Well, traditionally, it should be six men, but all of you know about Susan and tradition :)

Susan's favorite newsgroup, rfc, was represented by both Ray Bruman and Anne Bourget. Thanks.

We followed behind them. I carried a portrait of Susan and walked with Ellen, her sister. We placed the portrait along with several flowers atop the casket. I touched her casket and kissed it goodbye. After a chant in hebrew, she was lowered. We took turns scattering dirt onto her casket.

Afterwards, many of us went to her mother's home. There was some food. I've lost my appetite since all of this happened and I only ate a few strawberries. But it was so nice to meet so many of our friends. I went around and around the house, welcoming people, introducing people to each other, and talking with people. Many were telling Susan stories: Susan's wit, audacity, and boldness made her a loose cannon in this tired world. I'll try to collect some of these stories and post them here for you.

People cried and people laughed. Everyone talked so openly. So much love and emotion between everyone and so many hugged me and talked with me; Susan brought so many people together. I felt both very sad and very happy, to see how people loved Susan and many told me what Susan had said to them about me. She loved me so much.


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