‘Get out of my life!’ — remembering Sue Dibley

Moms, memories and MVPs

Dan Dibley
January 05, 2018 - 3:11 pm

“Get out of my life!”

It had already been a Christmas unlike any other, with my wife and I taking our teenage sons on the road for the holiday for the first-ever time, spending Christmas Eve in Black Point with Grandpa Dave before staying over at Grandma Sandy’s in Novato for Xmas Proper and ostensibly, the Warriors-Cavs tilt at noon.

After Santa Claus had departed, it became increasingly clear that we needed to go visit my Mom again sooner rather than later. She had been in ICU under excellent care at Sutter Health Santa Rosa yet her lung cancer and related ailments had begun to overwhelm her body. Plainly, she was dying.

My wife Chanda and I arrived to see her in great pain and discomfort with intermittent flurries of coherence and discombobulation. My extremely intelligent, compassionate, and sneakily funny mother was leaving us. I tried to console her with words when she raised up out of bed far enough to tell me, “Get out of my life!”.

These would be the last words she said to me.  The next morning, Dec. 26, I was on the air with Daryle "The Guru" Johnson and John Dickinson when I got the news. Sue Dibley had died at the age of 78 from stage IV lung cancer. You don’t get to script a Hollywood ending when saying goodbye but I will always remember where I was when I got that phone call.

Sue Giles attended Commodore Sloat Elementary, Aptos Jr. High and Lowell High School; my mom was a City girl through and through. She and my late father Dwayne met as College of Marin students and got married, raising four kids in Marin and Sonoma counties. It’s a tribute to her (and his) character that they stayed married until death did them part.

She went to work fulltime in the mid-70s at Drake high school as a secretary and worked her way up from there, all the while running a homestead with four active yet unhelpful kids. My father’s work ethic continues to go unchallenged but to me, mom was the MVP.

My parents moved to Minnesota in 1992 largely so my dad could retire. My mom got a job and forged a second career as an executive assistant for construction companies in the Twin Cities, mostly because she was interested in being in the mix. They moved back to the Bay nearly a decade ago to spend time with their seven grandchildren.

My mom was my teacher, my protector, my advocate, and my friend. Nobody in our family understood me like she did and it’s dawning on me that every person with a mom should be lucky enough to feel this way. I have many great memories of my mom and I am deeply appreciative of all she taught me.

I realized at the time and understand even more deeply now what my mom meant when she told me “Get out of my life!” What she really was saying is “Get ME out of my life.” The pain and fight to survive had become more than she could bear and mercifully she passed, no longer in pain.

As Stuart Scott said during his fight with cancer, “you beat cancer how you live, why you live, and the manner in which you live.” My mom lived an amazing life and leaves a lasting legacy of love and compassion.

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