Sunday, May 19, 2019

Homecomings and Goings

©2019 Susan Noyes Anderson

Come home to me, my child; come home.
Dance on the words of a mother's poem...
stepping-stars across the sky,
shining bright to draw you nigh,
spun from gossamer and love,
heart-notes sent to heaven above.

Tiptoe through the rooms that knew you
while I whisper secrets to you.
Brush my soul with velvet fingers...
breathe a sweet goodbye that lingers...
then return, like fallen rain,
to the place from whence you came.

Angel voices call your name.


This is the poem I wrote to my son on Mother's Day, having lost him last year to a prolonged and painful illness. It feels good to share it here, on my trusty old (though neglected) blog, where I know I am among friends. 

Yesterday was Todd's birthday. He would have been 37. We miss him terribly, but (as ee cummings so beautifully suggests) we carry him in our hearts. We always will.

for more poems, click below

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Sweet Memories of Todd

Hello, friends. I am sorry to have "gone missing" slightly over six months ago. A lot has happened in my life since the last time I posted, and I am finally ready to make a record of it here. I like the idea that, when I create my next blog book, the events from July 29th and onward will be captured in print.

Many of my faithful readers already know my news from Facebook, but for those to whom it is new, I apologize for the abruptness of it all. The sad truth is that my son, Todd Anderson, passed away in his bed on July 29th at the age of 36. He had been ill for a long time, so it wasn't exactly a surprise to us. Having said that, it still managed to be profoundly shocking. Strange how two opposite feelings can exist simultaneously, but that was our experience.

We have had wonderful support from family and friends, and the funeral was perhaps the most lovely (and loving) that I have ever attended. I am going to begin by chronicling the days following Todd's death in the exact form as it was sharedon Facebook, not only for my blog friends but for posterity:

July 30th
It is with heavy hearts that we tell all our friends and family that our son, Todd Anderson, passed away early Sunday morning. His funeral will take place this Thursday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The viewing will be at 10:00 AM and the services at 11:00 AM. Though Facebook has a pretty far reach, if you are aware of any friend of Todd's who might not see this post, please share the information with them. Thanks. 

July 31st
We are getting questions from friends who are not members of our church about whether the funeral services for Todd Anderson are open to them. The answer is, "Of course they are!" Our family is grateful for anyone and everyone who wants to join us in remembering Todd this Thursday. You are all more than welcome. 💕 

August 1st

Never imagined writing an obituary for one of my children, but here it is, Todd. We love you.


Todd Allan Anderson was born on May 18, 1982 in Verdugo Hills, California. He grew up in Northridge, California until the age of eight, when his family relocated to the Bay area and their current home.

An accomplished student, Todd was well-loved for his intelligence, humor, and insight. He was an eagle scout, an all-star little leaguer, and a varsity football and basketball player who graduated from Saratoga High School. Todd, with his affinity for helping others, did social work before receiving his bachelor's degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of Arizona. He then attended the UC Irvine School of Medicine until his failing health made that impossible.

Todd died on July 29, 2018 and is survived by his father (Dave Anderson), mother (Sue Anderson), brother and sister-in-law (Matt and Heather Anderson), sister and brother-in-law (Karin and Bob Valdez), and his brother (Ryan Anderson). He also leaves behind two grandparents, five nieces and nephews, and an extended family that loves him dearly and will miss him every single day. Todd was laid to rest at Madonna Cemetery on August 2.

Later that day
And on the heels of that obituary, a snapshot of Todd Anderson, Ryan Anderson, and Dave Anderson in happier days. Todd loved our Newport Beach vacations. What a good-looking guy, and how I will miss looking into those beautiful blue eyes, lit by that dynamite smile. Love you, buddy.

Senior picture. What a great kid!

Just found this picture of Todd Anderson, taken at the conclusion of his white coat ceremony at the UC Irvine School of Medicine. What a joyous conclusion that was!

August 4, 2018 - funeral day

This is the memorabilia table from Todd’s funeral service. His cousin, Kristin Blake Mills, put together a wonderful video slide show that we just loved, and Tyler Blake set up a great sound track to accompany it. 
A lot of friends Todd and Ryan went to high school with were there (thanks for coming, guys), and it was a nice way for all of us to take a walk down memory lane. We miss Todd so much, and remembering him and all the good times means everything to us.

The men Todd knows and loves best carried him into the chapel. It was a sad but stirring moment to see them all supporting Him so lovingly. We were touched by how many friends and family members attended the services. 

Bishop Robinson opened the meeting by welcoming everyone to the services, then Ryan Anderson gave perhaps the most touching ecology I have ever heard. It had all the elements of humor, sentiment, and thoughtfulness that make up a memorable tribute, and we know Todd had to love it. (We feel sure he was there to listen.) When Ryan concluded his talk, Tyler Blake (cousin) sang and played a David Gray song for which he had reworked the lyrics, personalizing them for Todd. It touched our hearts so deeply; and man, is he talented (if we do say so ourselves, and we do). Todd and Tyler have always had a close cousin bond, and this offering more than did it justice. After Tyler, our BFF Mike Taylor gave an incredible talk about eternal families and perspective, both earthly and eternal. We love Mike, and he loves Todd; so we knew he was the right one to speak. Following Mike, Caroline Call Owens sang a stirring arrangement of The Lord's Prayer, accompanied by her mom, Sheila Call. We have always loved Caroline's voice and were so thrilled to have her participate with us. (Wish we had a photo for you, but we somehow missed getting one.) We then gave family members a chance to speak briefly at the podium to and about Todd. When the service came to a close, the pallbearers reverently removed the casket. As you can see, Ryan and Matt were making sure their little brother was closely attended. (I don't think we are supposed to take pictures in the chapel, but our relative who took them didn't know. To be honest, I am grateful to have them.)

We left the chapel and arrived at the cemetery, where Todd was carefully carried to his final resting place on this earth. It is a beautiful spot, and his family and closest friends awaited him there. 

Todd's father, Dave Anderson, dedicated the grave, and the services concluded. It was a day of extreme sorrow, but our knowledge of resurrection and eternal life brought hope and joy as well. How grateful we are for a Savior who loves us, and we will rely upon His spirit to heal and comfort this unspeakable loss of our beloved son and brother, Todd. May we ever continue to stand all amazed at the love and hope our Savior offers every child of God, and may Todd be encircled in His arms until we are together once more. 


August 5th

We visited Todd’s grave yesterday and feel grateful that he rests in such a beautiful, peaceful place. Several dear friends are buried near him, as we will one day be. I like that. 

That's about all I can take of this walk down memory lane for today...The memories, as you can imagine, are still very tender. From here on out, I will just start posting the poems I have written, the thoughts I have had, and the beautiful things I have found in my journey of healing thus far. I hope some of it might be as helpful to someone grieving the loss of a dearly beloved person as it has been to me.
{Love you, Toddy}

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

From the Heart

(for ryan)
©2018 susan noyes anderson

city beat
city heat
miles of pavement
pulsing feet

dirty asphalt
ocean breeze
misty mornings
nights to seize

sidewalk sleepers
suited men
money makers
born again

mission district
nob hill flair
sunset, castro
union square

trolley crossings
beeping, dinging
magic sounds

snaky streets
bridge of gold
arching, soaring
bonny, bold

gritty, graceful
work of art
san francisco
from the start

(bring your dreams
leave your heart)

for more poems, click below

 for more poems, click below

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Still Waters

©2018 Susan Noyes Anderson 

O be not lulled by placid sea
nor lapping waves
of harmony

stand warily beneath a sky
of azure born
to soothe the eye

lean soft against the stolid tree
serene in all
its symmetry

embrace but do not claim the breeze
that rustles gently
through the trees

for deep within each peaceful thing
a wildness waits
and will be seen

the oceans roar, the heavens burst
the branches whip
the winds reverse

and e'en my steady soul breaks free
the wild in me


Sometimes I fear the wildness in this world, but I make every effort to seek and appreciate the good in it. Quotes like the ones below help me find my way to acceptance, even appreciation. (I do confess that nothing thrills me more than a violent thunderstorm or waves pounding the beach with unyielding ferocity, so maybe there is a bit more of the wild in me than I realize.)

"God loves all the flowers, even the wild ones that grow alongside the highway."
– Cyndi Lauper

"Wild waves rise and fall when they arrive; and that's what makes the peaceful sea alive."
– Munia Khan

"She found herself over a long and treacherous road, and the more treacherous the road became, the more of herself she found."
– Atticus Poetry

The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy."
– John Muir

"By forces seemingly antagonistic and destructive, Nature accomplishes her beneficent designs - now a flood of fire, now a flood of ice, now a flood of water; and again the fullness of time, and outburst of organic life." 
– John Muir

"All the wild world is beautiful; everywhere and always we are in God's eternal beauty and love."
– John Muir

Our Creator didn't get this wrong. It's what we do with the wildness that matters. 


for more poems, click below

Monday, April 23, 2018

Blessed Am I

My sweet mom is 91 years old today, and while she isn't feeling nearly as chipper as she did in this picture from last year, she is hanging in as best she can. Mom has her good days and bad days, but every day we are grateful for all the love and support she has given us through the years. Our mother has a generous heart, and we are the beneficiaries.

Below are the lyrics to Blessed Am I, written with my mother as inspiration. I thought it seemed just right to print them here today. The sheet music can be found on the website of Lindy Kerby, who took my heartfelt words and composed the loveliest melody imaginable. We were introduced to one another years ago by Janice Kapp Perry and have collaborated on several songs since that time. This one is generally sung for Mother's Day.

On this day, however, Blessed Am I is a happy birthday song for Grace Darlene Robbins, whose daughter I am grateful and proud to be. 

©1996 Lindy Kerby (music) Susan Noyes Anderson (lyrics)

I came to a world that was cold and unknown.
You reached out to hold me and made me your own;
and you made me strong, and you filled me with love
and whispered that I was a gift from above.

Blessed am I; my mother is you,
sharing His love in all that you do.
Each gentle smile is an answer to prayer.
Deep in my heart, you'll always be there;
deep in my heart, you'll be there.

Your love is the truth that I came here to learn.
You listened and counseled with love and concern;
and you understood me when other hearts failed,
when you were the reason my spirit prevailed.

Blessed am I; my mother is you,
sharing His love in all that you do.
Each gentle smile is an answer to prayer.
Deep in my heart, you'll always be there;
deep in my heart, you'll be there.

I thank you, dear Mother, for all that you are –
no softer a moonbeam, no brighter a star,
no stronger a mountain, more constant the sea –
No other could be such a mother to me.

Blessed am I; my mother is you,
sharing His love in all that you do.
Each gentle smile is an answer to prayer.
Deep in my heart, you'll always be there;
deep in my heart, you'll be there.

💗 Happy Birthday, Mom. 💗
You are loved,
dearly loved,
by all of us.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Our V-Day Pick - Mom and Dick


Happy Valentines to you,
the sweetest ones we know, times two!
We wish you a bright, happy day
and love you more than words can say.


Sue, Dave and family


"Life doesn't come with a manual, it comes with a mother."

"The greatest thing a father can do for his children 
is to love their mother."

So grateful you two belong to us.