On January 8, 2017, Susan Courtright Zanner passed away at age 60 after a 10-year bout with breast cancer. With a passion for education and children, Susan gave of everything she had for causes she believed in. On a more personal level she found ways to encourage, care for, and bring joy to others while she herself was in the midst of her battle with cancer.
Last Thursday, a celebration of life service was held for Susan. Bexley United Methodist Church was filled beyond capacity with persons of all ages, races, and faiths who came to honor and remember. They came to grieve their loss, but celebrate Susan’s ultimate victory. The printed order of service for those who attended included a poem written by Linda Nielsen titled A Gift.
I was given a gift, wrapped shabbily,
it was nonreturnable, nonrefundable!
Reluctantly I accepted it.
In it I found courage I never knew existed
and a patience far beyond anything ever experienced.
I was given the ability to trust a stranger with that most dear to me,
and an endurance for the unknown.
I was given unconditional love of family and friends,
always there, never stopping, never faltering.
I was given many prayers from far and wide,
and the warmth of knowing I am truly cared about.
I was given a fond farewell of my modesty and vanity,
and the acceptance and love of an imperfect body.
I was given a strong shoulder to lean on when that
shoulder had once grown distant,
and laughter and good times, more special than ever before.
I was given many new friends,
wonderful, courageous women I am so very proud to know.
I was given warm sunshine and beautiful green grass,
blue skies, and sparkling city lights.
I was given things to see,
that once before were ignored.
I was given the chance to wake up,
nstead of sleepwalking through life.
I was given every glorious day to enjoy,
every month to savor, every year to rejoice.
I was given the gift of life,
I was given breast cancer.
Breast cancer did not get the best of Susan Zanner. Susan discovered that her cancer was a gift; a gift that came to her in many ways, through many people, over many months and years as she walked the path that so many women have walked.
Susan’s ability to see cancer as a gift is her gift to all of us. We look forward to the day when breast cancer… all cancers… are no more. But until then, we live the gift of life as Susan lived her life.