POEM FOR SUSAN HATTIE

Susan Hattie Steinsapir


THE CANDLE

When I learned that Susan had died, I lit a candle, a special candle.

This was a Yahrzeit candle, a memorial flame Jews light as a remembrance for the departed. There is a measured amount of wax designed to burn for 24 hours.

The candle burned all Monday, all Tuesday, and was still burning this morning when I came downstairs.

It was unusual that it was still going after 48 hours, but it was the way it burned that made me feel so good. When I first lit it, the flame was so tiny. I watched it for several minutes, sure that it wouldn't take and I'd have to relight it; it stayed lit, with miniscule strength. As the day wore on, the flame was slightly stronger.

When I saw it this morning, there was little besides the metal plate holding what was left of the wick and a few drops of melted wax at the bottom of the glass. The flame was quite strong, though...something you don't normally see at this point, and throughout the morning, I watched as it got bigger and bigger.

I know it was just a candle, but I'd like to think it was Susan's spirit...weak at first as she left behind her withered, damaged body and gained the strength she needed to soar.

The candle just went out with a wisp after more than 48 hours of burning brightly. Her spirit has risen and her light continues to shine on all she has touched.

Thank you, Susan, for coming into our lives...we're all better for it.


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