11 October


I try to only write about the things that are uplifting, encouraging and give hope. There are bad things that happen all around, but I choose to not dwell on them. I don’t fill my head and creative space with 24 hour news channels. I figure someone around me will fill me in with the big stuff, if I really need to know about it.

But last week, bad news hit home.

We lost the most beautiful, positive person from our community. A horrible accident occurred on Thursday night and in an instant Susan was gone.

I had the pleasure of getting to know Susan shortly after we moved to Tybee. She lived on the next island over, but she was “All Tybee” Serving at Hucapoos, alongside her boyfriend Chris.

One day, a little less than two years ago, Chris surprised her with a ring.I was more than honored when Susan asked me to take their engagement and wedding photos. Chris was not much for having his picture taken, but he played along nicely and actually enjoyed it.




It was a memorable unseasonably warm night in January. As the golden sun set over the back river and a full moon was rising in the cloudless sky. We had a beautiful time together capturing photos of their love for each other.

A couple months later, hundreds of family and friends gathered for a true celebration of love on the beach. It was one of the most special, goosebumps kind of days. All of Tybee rejoiced as they exchanged their vows with barefeet in the sand.



Over the next year and a half, I got to know Susan better. She was my kind of girl. Living life with no false boundaries in every way. She was born with challenges, and found a way to overcome them. Never letting anything stop her from living each day to the fullest. She touched our whole family. Each of my girls aspire be like her. My son, Bryce got to work side by side with her and Chris, from the kitchen at Hucapoos. She was like another sister to him.

She was full of hugs for everyone, all of the time. Always busy, working two jobs, but never too busy to smile and touch everyone around her. She was a preschool teacher for several years and recently was hired by the City of Tybee at the River’s End Campground. She had loved working with children, but was also excited to have a new job on the island, just down the street from her other job at Hucapoos.

Susan had a strong faith in Jesus. We had several discussions about personal faith and God’s love and His faithfulness. When she was planning their wedding, she did not want “just anyone” with a license to marry them. To her, this covenant was more than a legal contract. She wanted a minister of Christ to represent their marriage. She told me how important this was to her. She never hid her faith, but she let her light shine and fill dark places.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and Love your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27

These are the two greatest commandments and Susan lived them out loud more than anyone I know.

Every time I would see her she would tell me about how thankful to God she was for something that happened that day. She never held back her expression of gratitude for even the smallest of things. On labor day weekend, she told me how excited she was to be able to see the fireworks on the beach, as she was usually working on the big holiday tourist weekends. She will now be able to look down and see them from a different perspective.

Our Island is hurting right now. Aching with a hole that can’t be filled. It’s a sad time when we cannot understand why God would take such a shining example away from us. Someone who was the closest example of Jesus walking on earth that I knew. But, I am reminded that Jesus was taken from earth at an early age too.

Tears continue to flow. We are holding onto each other. Hugs have always been a big deal for Tybee, but now the embrace is longer. Words of love and affirmation more direct. We all want to be more like Susan. Taking our lessons from her life that was cut too quickly for our understanding. We will take one step at a time, band together and continue to love each other with reckless abandon.

I appreciate the messages and expressions of sympathy I have received. Please continue to pray for Chris, Susan’s family and our hurting community.

It is my hope for you today to live your life with more intention. Be grateful. Take a moment to be still, and hear a small voice that may be calling your name.

To our sweet Susan. You will be forever missed, but the lives you have touched will carry you in our hearts for our remaining earthly days. Thank you for living your life as a beacon of light. Till we are together again my friend…all my love.


  1. That was so sweet and beautiful about Susan , as she was a such a beautiful person inside and out , I will never forget her . All of her family will be In my prayers .

  2. Oh Wen,
    I am so so sorry to hear about Susan. We had the blessing of meeting her at Huc a poos. She was our server, but brought so much more to our group than just pizza and beer! She was full of life, and smiles, and love! She gave me a hug when we left! She clearly radiated love and joy!
    I am praying for Chris! I can’t imagine the pain of loss he is experiencing. But we trust that God does know! And while Tybee’s tears are fresh, hopefully it is some comfort to know that Susan is walking with Jesus. This world’s loss is Heaven’s gain.
    With love,

  3. Susan was truly the sunniest person I have ever met. She was always smiling and giggling and laughing. The world will be a little darker without her smile.

  4. Thank you for sharing Wen. Just like others have shared, we were only acquainted with Susan through our quarterly trips to Tybee over the last few years with Hucapoos as our first stop arriving and our last stop when we had to leave. Susan always made us feel so welcome and more than that she was one of those special people that you instantly knew her heart for people was pure and non-judgemental. I remember one of our trips when we had the pleasure of Chris waiting on us and when we asked about Susan how his eyes lit up and a big smile followed when he shared with us they had been married. My heart breaks for Chris and each and every one of you that knew and loved Susan. I don’t understand death, and it never gets any easier, in fact, it seems to only get harder. I do know in Susan’s case we are all better people for having know her and she’s got to be shining down smiling on us all right now. Rest in peace, Susan.

  5. Wen,
    When we return to Tybee, we hope to meet you. Susan was such an ambassador to “Tybee Tourists” or at least us! We love her so much! We hear her laughter and see her beautiful smile! Your tribute was perfectly stated. You are blessed if you are fortunate enough to have the Tybee community as family. Til we can get tbere. Tim & Kim

  6. I am so sorry for the loss of this beautiful life. I remember Susan and Tracie being good friends and I know the friendship of her mother and Janice Watkins. Thank you for the beautiful photos. I have cried tonight because my sons are so close in age and I know the pain her Mom and Dad are feeling. May their strong faith in God carry them through I am praying for them and they know if there is one little thing I could do please let me know.

  7. Beautiful words written to describe a beautiful person. Susan’s smiling face will be missed by all who knew her. Prayers for peace for Chris, her family and her Huccapoo family!

  8. Thank you Wen. Susan’s gift to us is continued through your gift in words expressed here and through your lens with such grace and beauty. All of life every day is a gift from God – as you so graciously help us understand. It’s not easy practicing that understanding but it helps. Thank you.

  9. Thanks for writing this. I didn’t talk to her again after high school, but hoped she was doing well. I saw she got married through Facebook but that was all. What I remember about Susan was that she inspired joy in the people around her. And that is the most Christlike thing I can think of.

  10. Susan’s tragic event occurred while I was visiting Tybee. I had never met Susan, but Tybee loved her and I love Tybee, so I love her, too.

  11. Susan will forever be loved and remember she flies like an angel now!!!! Rip beautiful lady!!!!! U will be missed!!!

  12. Wen, thank you for sharing these incredibly beautiful and loving photographs as well as your heart felt words about our friend. Over the years I have seen Susan through so many others eyes: a preschool teacher with children , a musician with our son and a fun loving friend to my niece and to so many others. I was honored to attend her Memorial service today. It was amazing to see and be a part of such a loving community of people- all there to honor Susan and the amazing way she gently touched our lives.

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