Sunday, September 10, 2006

Susan M. Clyne: A Tribute

Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.
C. S. Lewis

Susan M. Clyne.
Wife. Mother. Daughter. Sister. Scholar. Colleague. Friend. These words, in a way, sum up her life, but do not illustrate the remarkable woman that she was, nor the profound effect that she had on the lives that she touched.

Wife. Charlie and Susan met on a blind date in 1985. Two years later, on June 6, 1987, they married. The strengthen of their bond and their love for each other is echoed in the words of Charlie himself. One can hear the pride when he described her many accomplishments, the bemusement when he spoke of her devotion to all things computer, and the anguish when he mentioned that they never got the chance to say good-bye.

Mother. Of all her many accomplishments, Susan felt that her children were her greatest achievement. She was devoted to them as they were to her. The twins Marie and Michael, Kevin, and Timothy could readily be seen smiling, laughing, and clowning from the various pictures that decorated her office. Her treasures. The older boys have inherited her love of computers, and all the children her desire to help others. In the days following the attacks, they worked diligently on their newest project, a memorial fund. It was decided that they would collect money in their mother’s name and buy computers for those in the school district who couldn’t afford them.

Scholar. Susan spent many long nights after high school attending classes to get her degrees. After graduating with a degree in finance she set her sights on Law School. She graduated Touro Law School and passed the NYS bar on the first try. She continued her education by completing her MBA in 1991, with a brief respite to focus on the birth of her twins. Her dedication and perserverence served her well. Her career at Marsh & McLennan flourished as she rose from programmer (self taught) to manager to Senior Vice President.

Susan was blessed with many. And they loved her as much as she loved them. That love has been expressed often in the tributes that followed the attacks. She was said to know "how to put a smile on somebody's face, or how to make you laugh." She would "always take time out of her busy schedule to talk to you, or to help you in any way she could." Her neighbors and friends in Lindenhurst and at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic parish and in the school system intimated their love further by donating "time, energy, money and so much food to the Clynes that some of it almost went bad." On December 9, 2001, the village co-sponsored a Susan M.Clyne memorial 5K run/walk and a number of different events dedicated to doing "everything (they) can to keep her memory alive." Her collegues from Touro held their Fourth Annual Susan M. Dietrich Clyne ’88 Memorial Golf Outing this past August.

The most poignant example of the love that others had for this remarkable woman comes from her husband, Charlie, as he and the children tried to fathom what had happened.

"On the Thursday and Friday after the towers came down, (the children) asked if I thought writing letters to Mom would be a good idea, for when she came home. I said it would be a great idea. They wrote notes. They cut out hearts. They drew pictures. The ideas and thoughts came straight from their souls. By Friday of the second week, when hopes were dim, I went to bed, and when I got up, they had made this absolutely beautiful, gift-wrapped package, with all the notes inside, and they asked, ’How do we get it to her, now that she’s not coming home?’ And Kevin says, ’Balloons.’ Saturday, we went down to the beach at Robert Moses State Park with 50 or 60 helium balloons. As physics would have it, the balloons wouldn’t lift the box, so they had to modify the idea. They attached the notes and letters with their thoughts and hopes to individual balloons, and we watched those balloons fly away, and it was wonderful."

I will never be able to look at balloons drifting across the sky in the same way again.

This is just one of 2,966 tributes. To get a link to see the others visit the 2,966 Project website. Be sure to say a special thanks to Dale who has devoted an extraordinary amount of time to this wonderful campaign.


At 11:24 AM, Anonymous PT said...

Thank you

At 11:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi - I appreciate your memorial to Susan Clyne. I never knew Susan but I know her family well. My sister is now married to Charlie, I live in CA and whenever I visit NY I have a great time with the Clyne family. They are warm and loving and great folks. I cried reading the story of the balloons and did not know that important piece of their history. Thanks so much for sharing her memory with us.

At 12:27 PM, Anonymous PT said...

PS: Charlie Clyne has since remarried.

Also his parents both passed away circa 2003 and are buried at Calverton National Cemetery (and by coincidence in the same section at Calverton as my father-in-law who passed away in 2003 shortly before they did).

At 4:58 PM, Blogger Laury said...

PT: Thank you for letting me know about Charlie. What a lucky man. Some of us search a lifetime for love, and he has found it not once, but twice.

Please feel free to pass on the blog entry to anyone who knew Susan. I would be honored.

BTW I LOVED the Oprah Winfrey story. I wanted to include it somehow, but decided in the end it might detract from Susan and HER story.

Jeanine: I had originally thought of paraphrasing the balloons story because the blog entry was becoming quite long. However, too much was getting lost in the translation. Also, too much time was passing (and I had to get it up online by midnight) because I had to keep wiping the tears off my keyboard.

I too am a CA girl. I have yet to visit NYC but after writing these tributes, I want to go more than ever now.

At 6:52 PM, Blogger Valerie said...

This tribute was beautiful, it brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for doing both of them. I am glad I was able to steer you to the 2996 cause.

At 8:22 PM, Blogger Katherine said...

That was a wonderful tribute, thanks for participating in this amazing project. She would be so proud of her children I'm sure. Thanks for stopping by my tribute to Marjorie C. Salamone.

At 9:51 PM, Blogger Motherkitty said...

Thank you so much for posting this lovely tribute to a wonderful woman. I especially loved the story of the helium balloons. I'm so happy that her family has found happiness again after the terrible anguish we have all suffered.

Thank you also for your wonderful comments on my site. Please invite your readers to view my special tribute to Cynthia Motus Wilson who died when the WTC Tower 1 fell.

At 9:56 PM, Blogger healthpsych said...

That imagery of the balloons will stay with me for a long time.

A beautifully written tribute.

At 11:35 PM, Blogger MrsGreenThumb said...

What a loss, not only to her family but to us all. Susan was a role model, devoted to her family, yet focused on her own goals. My condolences to her family and friends. Her husband must be a man of great love for his children. He helped them find a special way to say goodbye to their mother. I am happy he found another to share his life.
I wrote about Catherine A. Nardella who died at the WTC on 0/11.

At 2:00 PM, Blogger brian said...

Thanks for sharing this wonderful love story. The balloons really got to me. I have read so many of these tributes, yet each one stands out in some way.

I posted my tribute for Gilbert, stop by if you would like.

At 11:49 AM, Blogger G said...

That was a beatifully moving tribute and as Brian pointed out above me, each one stands out in its own way to remember that individual.

I know I will not look at a balloon in the sky, the same way again. So nice to read his family has found renewed love and hope.

At 10:28 PM, Blogger michael said...

I am Susans son. I don't know who created this but i want to say thank you. She was a great and loving person who everyone seemed to love. Everyone she met instantly liked her. Thank you for publishing her story.

At 6:00 PM, Blogger Laury said...

Thank you Michael. Of all the comments, messages, and posts I have recieved about the tribute, this one means the most to me. I so wanted to contact your family and tell them what I was doing, how impressed I was with your mother, and how much I enjoyed finding out about her life.

However, I also knew that I was a stranger, and that the tribute would no doubt bring up powerful memories, and I did not want to invade your privacy. If you don't mind my asking, how did you discover this tribute?

I hope that I have been able to do justice to her memory and provide a glimpse of the wonderful woman that she was. You were (and are) profoundly blessed to have a mother who loved (and loves) her children so much. I truly believe that she continues to watch over you and I am sure she is extremely proud of each of you. And I bet she has read every message on each balloon 1000 times over. I know I would.

At 5:00 PM, Anonymous marie said...

I'm Marie, Susan's daughter. Thank you for writing this tribute for my mom. Thank you for keeping her memory alive. This whole tribute means a lot to me.


Post a Comment

<< Home