Not many people know the name nor have they had the pleasure of living with their angel. My birth family had a need for someone to undertake the responsibilities of raising two children and my angel stepped up to the plate. My brother (Robert G. Bright 1940-1990) and I moved to Indianapolis, Indiana from Kentucky about 1941, with Susie. We were not adopted however.
My angel was the third child born to Mariah Anne Eldridge Long (1875-1953) and Knox Vertna George Leroy Long (Owendorff)(1875-1953) in Allensville, Todd County, Kentucky. I was told that Knox’s birth father was Tucker Owendorff, however he chose to use his stepfather’s (Ben Long) last name. Susie preferred and used Owendorff even though the other family members used the Long surname.
There are many stories I could tell about my angel but the most memorable, I believe, is about the “Night Susie died”. In December, 1976 Susie suffered a “grand-mal stroke” which left her completely paralyzed on her left side. Shortly after arriving at the hospital, she had a second one. She was holding on very well at that point and her prognosis was favorable. She had always said “I never want to be a burden on anyone” and she was beginning to repeat this phrase. I went to visit a few days before Christmas, she was in a very good mood and said she was going to walk again. She had been told that she could leave the rehab center for a few days if she wanted. Unfortunately, this could not be because our home would not accommodate a wheel chair and we had no way to lift and move her. I felt really bad about this situation and told her I would continue trying to work through this dilemma. On Christmas eve I had to share that we couldn’t find a way to take her out. I assured her that we would all visit and bring dinner. That Christmas was not merry for us or her.
Susie continued to improve, however she remained wheelchair bound. I was working outside the home, taking care of my family responsibilities, spending quality time with her and I was really very tired most of the time. One night I went to bed early and dreamed that Susie was standing before me saying “I told you I was going to walk again”. At that time, the telephone rang, a nurse said Susie had another stroke and didn’t survive this one. She was the last living member of her biological family. She and no one in her immediate family had children. I believe she willed her demise to follow her desire not to be a”burden on anyone”.