About seven years ago I was a guy working 55 hours a week and had moved out to Colorado three years previously. I knew there was more to life than work: I had been married once before and I had been in a long-term relationship that ended sadly in a passing. I knew that I wanted to find someone to share my life. I wanted to find someone who would be my wife and grow old with me.
Susan and I met after corresponding on a dating website. Our first encounter did not bode well for me. She lived in Aurora, Colorado and I lived in Broomfield, Colorado. When she offered to meet me for coffee and told me there was a Starbucks in Stapleton, I stupidly went to Northfield. I was late, but once I met her I knew that I wanted to know more. She was tall, with long, reddish, auburn, brown hair and a great smile. Needless to say even with my tardiness, we kept the relationship and communications going. Only later did I find out that she really did not like or drink coffee.
Apparently one thing about our first meeting or meetings, Susan thought I was a little bit too aggressive in my kissing. Now I am a really affectionate guy, and if I like someone I’m not afraid to show it. The way this part of the story has been put to me, Susan was having a conversation with her work friend Kristin and mentioned this about our first meetings. Kristin came to my defense and told Sue that she should give me a chance. I’ll always be grateful to Kristin for passing these words to Susan and being an advocate for me.
We ended up going to the same Rockies game for fireworks night a few weeks later. We did not go together, but I would always joke about how she probably saw me on the Jumbo-tron when I was captured laughing with my sister Nancy and pointing to my Yankee jersey as they were setting up between the game and the fireworks and decided I was the guy for her.
We did not get together for a few weeks, but finally went back to the same area in Stapleton and had dinner at the Irish pub (Casey’s Bistro and Irish Pub) that is right across from the Starbucks where we first met. We’re still in that “we don’t know yet” in getting to know you phase and really talking and laughing as we explored who we were as people. She was a CPA Auditor for the Commerce Department at that time (she later moved on to the National Science Foundation) and loved to travel. One of the things that attracted me to her profile was that she wanted a guy who had a passport and was ready and willing to take off at a moment’s notice on a trip to Mexico for a long weekend. This totally intrigued me as I had only taken one large trip in my life and really wanted to experience the world with someone at my side. Another thing that attracted me was her insistence that the responder must love animals. Having 2 cats, I knew that I could be a match with her Black Lab Avalon and cats Sage and Savannah. (I know that Avalon and Sage were there to greet her on Wednesday morning!)
So far the relationship was progressing, but we hadn’t had a first date. We both really loved going to the movies and, being the gentleman that I am, I let Susan pick the time and place for our first movie date. She decided that she wanted to see the movie, Starshine that was playing at the historic independent Denver Theater “The Mayan.” We had purchased tickets in advance for the early show and decided that we would meet at the restaurant next door. Unfortunately for me, it was a Friday night, there was an incredibly bad thunder and lightning storm that dumped inches of rain onto I-25 as I was heading down to the theater and parts of the highway were closed and rerouted due to flooding under overpasses. I kept calling her from my cell phone to let her know what was going on. When I finally arrived two hours late, she was still there at the restaurant. Now one thing you have to realize about Susan, she never wanted to be the center of attention, EVER. Sitting at a table in a restaurant by herself was tantamount to an excruciating exercise for her, but there must’ve been some connection that made her stay.
Since we had already missed the early show, we talked the box office into trading our tickets for a later show. The Mayan box office was great and agreed to let us go to the 9:30 show. We got into the theater and found some good seats in the middle, and of course I loaded us with popcorn and soda as I always do when I go to a movie. The lights went down, the movie started. Now this movie is all about a mission to the sun to reignite the solar actions because it is starting to lose fuel which will doom the Earth. As we are watching the movie, there is a scene where sirens and alarms are going off on the ship in the movie. As we are hearing this, I begin to notice that the siren sounds don’t seem to be only coming from the movie audio. What’s more alarming is that I begin to smell smoke as well. I grabbed Susan’s arm and said “I think we need to get out of here the theater is on fire.”
We got out of our row of seats and headed towards the entrance of the Mayan theater. At that exact moment firemen were coming in the door with hoses. Everything seemed to be pointing to us not getting together as a couple, but we persevered anyway. Yes, our first date was one to really remember and cherish as a story. We ended up getting a voucher to see the movie and eventually went back and saw the whole movie at the Mayan.
Susan lost her battle this week early on the morning of Wednesday, May 21, 2014. A bright light was extinguished from my life. There are only a very few people, and in some cases only one person, that you ask to marry you and spend their life at your side. Susan was the person I was hoping to spend the rest of my life with. Things got extremely complicated over the last year, but the feelings never changed. I will always love her, I will always remember her, and I will do things in her memory going forward.
How do you say goodbye? I do not know…
**** To Family and friends of Susan Crismon. May 31st at 2 pm please join us to celebrate Susan’s life. The Celebration is at New Dawn Center for Spiritual Living 1680 S. Chambers Rd., Aurora, 80017. In lieu of flowers Susan requests a donation to Cat Care Society, 5787 W. 6th Ave., Lakewood, CO 80214.
All are welcome. Please forward this information to others who were part of Susan’s life.