Suzy’s impact statement

My name is Azucena Rivera (SUZY), Jeremy Scott McGuire (SCOTT) was my husband and the father of my son, Finn.

My son and I were asleep on January 15th, when I was jolted awake with a phone call that no-one ever expects to get.  A phone call that instantly changed our lives and that I didn’t want to understand at that moment. “Mrs. Mcguire, your husband has been in a hit and run in Miami and is unresponsive, you’ll have to call the hospital to get more info”. I didn’t know where to go or what to do after getting off the phone, I wandered the house and started calling family and friends. I had no idea what we were going to be walking in to. I was trying so hard to hold back my fear and hysteria in front of my son on the flight to Miami, which felt like the longest flight ever. I’ll never forget how my son felt on that flight, he was just as nervous as I was, it was as if we knew what was ahead. My son starting to vomit as we were trying to get off the plane and rush to the hospital. My heart broke as I first saw Scott on the hospital bed, in a coma with tubes helping him breathe. I touched his arm and held his hand, as I begged and pleaded for him to hear me, to wake up, to stay with us and not leave Finn and I. He had to live to watch Finn grow up. I played him recordings of Finn’s voice, hoping that would wake him. Scott died 9 days later after trying so hard to recover and stay with us. 

My Scott was my soulmate, my best friend, my strength, my husband, the father of my child, the love of my life…he and Finn were my everything. 

We had his funeral services, the day before our 20th anniversary of being together. I had spent over half my life with him, and he spent the rest of his life with me. I was lucky to have such an amazing human being as my partner in this life and I knew it every day. Scott was kind, generous, loyal, energetic, compassionate…everything that defines an amazing human being, that deserves to live and be here today. Scott was 21 and I was 18 when we first met, and we knew that we were going to be together. We were inseparable from the beginning and even in the end. Our friends and family came up with a nick-name for us since we were always together, they would lovingly call us SCUZY (Scott + Suzy). We couldn’t be without each other. I’ll never forget when he asked me to be his girlfriend, he wrote me a poem and planned the most elaborate date to make it so special. He was always so thoughtful. At one point in college, I worked as a waitress to help pay for my college, and Scott would wait for me to get off of work to make sure I made it home ok, even though he had just spent the day studying and working. He was tall, handsome, smart, strong and protective. we supported each other in all our endeavors. Whatever he wanted, I wanted for him and whatever I wanted, he wanted for me. 

Scott loved his family with everything he had. He loved my family as his own. He was never too busy or too tired to help anyone that needed it. 

Scott was so excited and protective when we finally became pregnant after trying for 6 years. He wanted the best for our son Finn. He used to make Finn homemade, organic baby food every week, whether he was tired or not. He was never too busy to play with Finn, take care of him and he loved to teach him new things everyday. They would go on adventures on the weekends. They would take the streetcar to the French Quarter, walk around and enjoy New Orleans together. They loved eating at their favorite restaurants together, Franky & Johnny’s, where they would split a po-boy, have “boy talks” and learn new things. I came home one day and Finn was excitedly telling me all about mosquitoes, Scott had taught him about how only the female mosquitoes were the ones to bite. He never missed an opportunity to teach Finn something new everyday.

My heart truly breaks for my son who is so young and is missing out on so many amazing memories and adventures with his father, his best friend. Only a few weeks ago, we were in the car driving home from his aunt Kelley’s house, Finn was quiet in the back and I heard him sobbing. He was sitting in the dark crying. He told me how he missed his dad and in between sobbing, he was begging me to please give him his father back. “Mommy please give me my daddy back…please, please”. How do you respond to that as a grieving mother? I told him I would do anything to give him his father back, I would give my own life. Then he asked me why I didn’t let him see his dad in the hospital. A 7-year-old boy shouldn’t have to think about these things. I told him that I didn’t want him to be afraid that his father was in pain, with all the tubes he was connected to. And that I wanted him to remember his father as the tall, strong, protective man that he used to wrestle with and prank me with. The only solace and comfort I could give him was to tell him, that tonight before going to sleep to pray that his father would visit him in his dreams. 

Before Scott’s death, Finn was confident, funny, outgoing and sensitive. Now Finn is in therapy weekly, has anxiety and constant fears. He’s afraid of what will happen to him and who will take care of him if something happens to me. He’s afraid to cry, for fear of making others uncomfortable. The last time we were in Miami for the last court appearance, we asked him if he was sad or wanted to cry during the court session, his answer was “yes mommy, I wanted to cry but I didn’t want to make the lady that hit daddy, sad or upset or feel bad”. In these moments of compassion and maturity, Finn is his father. And I know he will find his footing again, because of the legacy and community that Scott leaves behind.

As for me, how has my Scotts death impacted me? Scott was my strength and my stability, my partner in this life. If I was ever unsure or worried about anything, all it took was for Scott to simply say to me “Sweetie, it’s going to be fine, everything will be ok” and I immediately knew that with him by my side, EVERYTHING would be ok!  I constantly think to myself, how am I now a single mother, this wasn’t the plan, we had Finn so that we could be a family. I’m in weekly therapy sessions. I now have anxiety, fear of what’s going to happen next…what else could go wrong? Right after Scott’s death, every phone call, every piece of mail, had me on edge for fear of more earth-shattering news. I’m walking through life as if I’m walking blindly in the dark, desperately trying to find my direction. Losing Scott is like losing half of myself. There are no words to express how deep the hole in my heart is. I get up every morning for my son. I work for my son. I now live for my son. He is truly my sunshine, my only sunshine.

Thank you in advance for taking the time to read about Scott, and to read all our letters. Our stories and memories keep Scott ALIVE!

Suzy Rivera
(Widow of Jeremy Scott McGuire)

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