“When you first meet her, you think, ‘how could anyone be so sweet,’ but when you get to know her, you discover she really is that sweet,” said one of Susan Kaden’s many friends, who gathered at a New York City restaurant recently to celebrate her 50th birthday. “She is one of the most special people I’ve ever met.”
Susan had two solid reasons not to be sweet during the last couple of years: Her mother died of pancreatic cancer, three weeks after sharing her diagnosis, and her husband died of brain cancer last April, 19 months after he was diagnosed. But those unfortunate experiences didn’t prevent Susan from living with the graciousness, generosity and compassion that have always defined her, her friends told me. She was an exemplary caregiver to both her mom and to her husband of 26 years, celebrating the life they enjoyed together while they still could.
I met Susan just a couple of weeks ago, when we struck up a conversation at the beauty salon, where we were seated next to each other. A former nutrition coach, she is successfully running her husband’s printing business. She has two daughters, one in college and one about to move out of the New York apartment where they’ve been living since shortly after Susan’s husband died, and she sold her house on Long Island. And, she’s writing a book on caregiving. If she helps others absorb her sensitivity, tolerance and warmth, her book will be a best seller.
Read how Susan welcomed her friends and family at her celebration.