Susan Kent Davidson (1945 - 2014)

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Catchfire Catchfire's picture
Susan Kent Davidson (1945 - 2014)

I think this is the saddest babble post I've ever had to write. I don't know that I can do it, actually.

Susan Kent Davidson, known here for many years as skdadl, passed away peacefully from complications due to cancer on September 19.

I can't say all the things I need to say because I just heard this news. But I can say -- and this is still true even though I haven't spoken to skdadl in years -- that every word I write, here or elsewhere, the way I find out whether or not it's good is that I ask myself if skdadl would like it.

In terms of babble, whenever I thought of what this place should and could be, it was always a place that skdadl could call home. But now I know she's never coming back.

Rest in power, Susan. 



Sad news indeed, we had some interesting dicussions over the year. I will miss her, rest in peace.


Oh my god.



Jesus. :( You'll be deeply missed.

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

This is such devastating news. At BnR, we always relied on POGGE to give us the occasional update but he hasn't posted since many months ago (and his brilliant blog has disappeared - skdadl used to be a contributor). Truth be told, I always appreciated learning that her cats were doing well - never once even imagining that skdadl could possibly be anything but well.

Oh my, I am so shocked and saddened. I thought of her often in the past year - thinking that I would find a way to touch base with Susan and get her to give me some advice on my ideas/outline for a novel as well as ask her to edit it (if I ever did manage to put pen to paper). She was always so kind and supportive to me. Alas, it was a virtual relationship so many of us lost touch when she decided to walk away from the computer.

Such a terrible loss and much too young. For those who remember, Susan did a Remembrance Day interview that she was quite proud of in honour of her uncle:

It was so amazing to hear a voice to pin to her virtual one.

Antonia Z

Like others here, I only knew Susan virtually but it was always an honour and a pleasure. When she quit posting a few years ago, her presence on B&R was much missed, I can only speculate why she walked away from the computer when she did, shortly after she moved to a new home that she called heaven. I wonder whether it wasn't learning she had a battle to focus on. RIP Dear Lady.


My wife and I knew her in reality as well as virtually, bound by a love of cats.


This saddens us beyond words


What a shock.  Susan was everything that was good and decent about babble.  I haven't read anything by her in years, but just the other day I was thinking about how she used to write, "Och, aye."  A few years back I heard her CBC piece about her uncle and was surprised at how small her voice sounded, considering how strong was her writing.


Farewell, sister skdadl.

voice of the damned

She was probably the person who did the most to make me feel welcome when I was a newcomer in these parts, still trying to find my way around the terrain. A very welcome presence in all of these communities.

RIP, Susan.  


I'm terribly sad to read this; had just dreamt about her the other night. The cats of course - does anyone know which ones survive her, and where they are? but also the (Och, aye) Scots referendum. I also thought of her reading a piece by Diana Athill recently in the Guardian - Ms Athill is still alive - she is 96 - and still writing.


I just woke up to this.  I am really terribly saddened.  She was one of the first babblers I met in real life back in the very early days, and we'd get together periodically.  Coincidentally, she moved to Oshawa and lived about a dozen houses down from me.  I saw less of her then as she had become over the last years extremley reclusive, so I respected her privacy but always sort of worried.

I'll always remember her though, as one of the most brilliant and articulate people I've ever met.  She contributed hugely to making babble all the good things it was and is.


This is sad news.  She gave me writing tips...unheeded in large part.


I am so sorry to hear this. Susan (wow, using her real name here seems so strange) was a daily online friend in my life (and so many others) for many years here on babble.  She was also lovely in person the few times I met her. I had a great time helping her hold a yard sale at her place in the Annex. :)  We lost touch for the last few years, but she will be remembered with great affection by so many of us. 


Very sad, she was a great contributor to babble. When she was active on the site she was a cancer survivor, and in later years chronicled her caregiving to her partner's decline with Alzheimer's. She stopped posting not long after her partner died.

It is a testament to how well loved and respected she was that we are seeing old friends responding to this thread after long being absent from babble.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

I'm heartbroken to hear this. I tried contacting via Facebook not long ago, noticing she had been quiet far too long.


Oldgoat or anyone, do you know if the cats are safe and happy?

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..just heard. i was surprised then sad.


oh, my God. I can see, Susan, Tony and Rod catching up as I type.


I'm very sorry to learn this news. Susan was a great writer and a caring friend; she was an immense comfort to me when my father was dying with Alzheimer's disease. So many words I've read of hers that have stayed with me all these years. Truly, this is sad news.

J. Baglow J. Baglow's picture

Damn. Damn. I shall miss skdadl very much. She did guest posts at my place, and we engaged in the occasional sparring--then she dropped out of sight, and I wondered from time to time what had become of her. We should all keep in better touch, I think.

A great fractious comrade, and I mean the adjective in a good way. Wrote well, thought well, engaged well. So sorry to hear about this.

For those interested, some posts by her:



lagatta wrote:

Oldgoat or anyone, do you know if the cats are safe and happy?

I'm sure she made arrangements well before she was too ill to care for them.

One of the best thing about babble is the friends we make. The saddest thing is losing them too soon.


This is terrible news.  Susan being the most prolific contributor and therefor the public face of Babble in the early days was one of the main reasons it was a great place.



As with others, I've missed skdadl's posts and often thought of her, hoping she'd be back.  Rest in peace.


Yes, I kept hoping she'd weigh in on the Scottish referendum.



Antonia Z

Caissa wrote:

oh, my God. I can see, Susan, Tony and Rod catching up as I type.


All virtual friends, much-cherished, and much-missed.


I am not sure if the link to Susan's podcast was fixed but, just in case it wasn't, here it is:


I do know she did not have internet access for the last couple of years and thus only posted through others talking to her

kim elliott kim elliott's picture

It is so sad to find this thread. skdadl (and Michelle I agree, it is odd to use her real name here) was such a strong and vibrate presence on the boards since the very beginning of rabble. Though she hadn't posted for the last few years, I kept thinking that her name would pop up in comments on the board again.  Rest in peace Susan. 

Antonia: that CBC documentary you found is incredible. Thank you for sharing.


I have thought of Susan so often in the last few years, since she went off-line, and have wondered about her. I am so sorry to hear this news. I hope her most recent time was filled with interesting and useful work and with thoughtful and challenging conversation, which I think she would have enjoyed. All the best, skdadl.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

I never knew her in rl but I remember Susan many times defending a lone voice of reason here on babble when there was an ocean of rather ugly irrationality. Kinda reminded me of some of the things Muriel Rukeyser wrote ... now that I think about it.

Her kindly contributions here were always admirable, like a grandmother who unfailingly has cookies just out of the oven, and even in the sterile digital world her smiling heart could be discerned behind the cold keystrokes. Vaya con dios!


I am extremely sad to hear this.  skdadl was tremendously talented and wise.  she also had a terrific sense of humour.

Antonia Z

Kim, that doc link came via DeBeauxOs, also a former Babbler and B&R poster.

Through her, I learned that POGGE died too, I am so so sorry to say. This was in July.

Another one of us, Pale Cold posted this:

So now there's a revolution happening on the other side, wherever or whatever that is, or at least that is what I like to imagine.



Very sad news.


What sad news - I had wondered why we never heard from her lately but i guess she was too ill to post. I didn't know she was such a cat lover - that makes me doubly sad.


Stockholm and I have something in common!!!

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

This is very sad news.    We never met in person but I did enjoy her posts on line.   As well, we shared a number of private messages over the course of 2007.

Susan had lost her spouse in March, 2006 and I lost my previous spouse in November, 2007.  I'm not sure whether she realized it or not, but she helped me a great deal in coping with what I was going through at the time.

I'm sorry that we never met.


This is very sad news. I never knew her in rl, but we also bonded over a love of cats. She advised me when I adopted a couple of feral kitties a few years ago.


RIP Susan, you touched so many hearts and minds, I will always remember you.


Saw this thread last night; had no words. Read up on her bio which made me sadder.

Bugs me that she wasn't around here more recently.  One of her last posts here:

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

jas wrote:

Saw this thread last night; had no words. Read up on her bio which made me sadder.

Bugs me that she wasn't around here more recently.  One of her last posts here:

Damn, flood of tears again. That thread was started by Boom Boom.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Antonia, I hadn't heard about pogge's passing. Thanks for mentioning it. Sad upon sad.


Pogge is gone as well? Boom Boom, Skdadl and Pogge. This is truly upsetting. Tommy Paine heard about Susan when he got home from work and is very upset.


Pogge, oh no. And Hephaestion, and Croghan, and pencil-skirt. So much to remember and celebrate, and so much to do in the short time we are granted here.



Maybe we need a sticky thread that memorializes all Babblers who have died.


I would think pogge's passing would have been a small blow for her.

swallow swallow's picture

Tears. Susan was a lovely individual, and she made the internet better wherever she was on it. And no one could use a comma, or deliberately not use a comma, quite like her. And she didn't take any shit, neither. That's also worth saying, I think. But mostly tears. I wish I could tell her about the way the light was falling this morning as the mist lifted and that one perfect birch tree roused itself and started to think about shadowing that curve in the creek I see each morning. 

God bless you all this night. And maybe it will look better in the morning. 

There are things we need to remember. Things that matter, deeper than the daily arguments.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Jesus, that's practically a quote from Muriel Ruhkeyser. Even the language is the same. Eerie.

Muriel Ruhkeyser wrote about a turning point in US history that, sadly, did not come to fruition. Maybe her lament was like the lament of people like Samuel Clemens for a USA that would be different from other Empires. Anyway, I don't want to sidetrack this thread. Just some thoughts.


I've been thinking of skdadl this evening. Here - - is my favourite (some other word) interaction with her. My words are not important; hers are brilliant.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Oh skdadl. I miss you.

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

I dug around the wayback machine and found this gem of a thread:

[url= makes it a threesome[/url]

This summary is so perfect:

Skdadl, you Queen of the Written Word! You savante extraordinaire! The only person capable of keeping in check all those male egos on Babble! The author of not a single uninteresting post! The world's premier UN lover! And a very elegant, (yet) dogged optimist - which is always a great therapy!

May the number 2000 only be the beginning!


Missed the news of both Susan aka skdadl and Pogge aka Rob Hill deaths. Having both been a babbler (much much less in the past year) and also a former progressive blogger, was saddened to know they both had died. They both enlivened progressive politics and brought decency to postings. So sad.