Susan Wehle
Susan Wehle

“I lost my beloved sister, Susan Wehle, in the crash of flight 3407. I spoke to her on the phone as she was waiting in the Newark airport for her connecting flight that would take her home to Buffalo after a glorious vacation in Costa Rica. It was such a well-deserved vacation as she worked so hard (almost 24/7) all year long as the beloved cantor of Temple Beth Am. In addition to leading services, teaching students, singing in concerts, directing a choir, mediating conflicts, and offering sound counsel to those in need, she put much of her time and effort into comforting the sick and the dying by singing to them in their hospital rooms and was passionate about bringing children and adults of all faiths together to learn about each other’s similarities rather than their differences. She touched the young and the old with her energy and passion for life. My heart breaks for Susan’s two wonderful sons, my nephews (ages 21 and 24), who are trying to juggle their intense grief and shock with their need to move on with their studies. She also leaves behind our younger sister and our brother, both of whom are also intensely grieving each in their own way. In addition, Susan leaves behind many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends all of whom are struggling with the incomprehensible loss.

My sister, Sue, was sorely missed at Passover a few weeks ago as the whole family gathered together for the first time since the memorial in Buffalo and the subsequent funeral in NYC; but we had many memories to share or to hold quietly in our hearts and her energetic presence was felt – even in her absence.

I miss her as my singing partner at many occasions, most recently at my daughter’s wedding in September, where Susan was the officiant. We would always harmonize together; call each other for help with a forgotten melody; and bicker over whose memory of a melody or rhythm was more accurate. The other day, I tried to teach Susan’s part of a beloved song to my daughters so that we could harmonize at my nephew’s upcoming wedding. They suddenly were overwhelmed by tears at the memory of their aunt singing that song.

Even though I live in Massachusetts, Sue and I would often take our morning walks together, chatting on our cell phones as we walked. Due to her frenetic schedule, our precious phone time often coincided with our walks, or Sue’s driving from one appointment to another, or waiting for planes at airports!

I know that we must all go on and live our lives, yet now we must do so with greater mindfulness about the preciousness of every moment. I am trying to move on-as we all are- but I’m sure we all still share that feeling of vulnerability and that the tears are still just below the surface even on a ‘good’ day. I hope that we all continue to heal from our devastating loss.”

Eva Friedner – Sister of Susan Wehle