Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sue Hendler

I just received a notice from Sue's friend and Care Team coordinator Karla with this sad news:

"Sue died last night. It was at about 8:00. She was at St. Mary's but had only been there since the afternoon and so her plan to stay at home for as long as possible was very successful. As well, it was her choice to leave home and go to the hospital. She made all her choices until the very end. She was surrounded by more than an dozen of her wonderful family and friends."I'm not sure how I feel: shocked... sad... numb... thankful that she didn't linger.... all initial feelings that come to mind. I sent Sue an email on Monday to let her know that I was thinking about her but I hadn't had any communication from her since she made the following comment on my Visit with Sue posting on August 17th.

"Thanks Chris ...... I'll read this often over the next while and I know it will help me get through some difficult moments .... Take care and hugs to wonder dog!"

I'll miss Sue's raw and honest accounts of her cancer journey in her Whig Standard column. I've already been missing our back & forth email banter about everying from mindless TV shows to our fears about the future. I hope that wherever Sue is today, she's laughing at her prediction that there's probably nothing on the other side and that it's one opinion she's just fine with being wrong about.
This message was circulated to the Queens University community:

I am very sorry to report that Dr. Sue Hendler, former Head of the Department of Women’s Studies, passed away yesterday after a long and courageous fight against breast cancer. As some of you will remember, Sue was a Co-coordinator of Women’s Studies in the 1990s and was Director/Head for five crucial years from 1999 until 2004. She will be remembered for the many important policy changes that she initiated and implemented while leading the Department, including drafting the first proposal for what has become our MA Program in Gender Studies, overseeing growth both in course offerings and the enrolment of concentrators, and recognizing the need to convert the Institute into a Department. Under her wise leadership the LGBT, now Sexual and Gender Diversity, Certificate Program was created and began to flourish. More permanent faculty members were hired and Sue guided the Department through its first Internal Academic Review. Sue was politically savvy, wise, and a very hard worker on behalf of the interests of all members of the Department. Those of us here now owe her enormous gratitude for the efforts that she devoted to ensuring Women’s Studies would flourish. At this time I do not know what arrangements will be made for a service.

You can read Sue's past columns by clicking on her name below, after Labels. Watch for one final column from Sue to be published, which she told me she submitted sometime ago.


Anonymous said...

This is sad news and my sympathy goes out to all touched by the loss of Sue. Thank you, Chris, for bringing her message of hope, courage and honesty to many new friends through your blog. I know you'll be feeling a sad mix of emotions, so I send you courage and love to buoy you up. You've helped create a place for Sue in many hearts, whree she will always be cherished. I hope she is now experiencing the ripple effects of that love.

Mary T.

Lu said...

I am very sad to hear that Sue has passed on. She was one of the few people that believed in me and inspired me. She was a great teacher and person. I will miss her.


Dee said...

I'm very sorry, Chris. Hard to hear, but she seems as if she was realistic and prepared for it. I've been avoiding working on my will. A good reminder to get that process going. My thoughts are going out to you and all who knew Sue - didn't realize that she was a professor.

Trudy said...

thanks chris for sharing sue--her articles, your thoughts and feelings about and relationship with her. she was special and seems to have touched you deeply. sounds like she spent her last months in an incredibly supportive and loving environment. may we all have such circumstances when our times come.

Daria said...

I'm so sorry. My thoughts go out to you and your family.