Goodbye, for Now

Posted by Jen on February 26, 2005 in Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of... |

Last night, we went to the memorial service for Heidi. It was a beautiful service … she would have approved. At one point, the congregation was invited to share stories or say a few words. It started slowly … always does.

As I sat there and listened, I felt compelled to share. I can’t really explain why … and I really didn’t have a particular point to make. I stood up and before I knew it, was in front of the microphone.

I recounted, in a pretty scattered way, the night I spent with Heidi and Mary in the hospital the night Mary was born. It was incredibly impromptu. Here’s what I should have said.

I’m Jen. My husband and I are friends of Heidi’s from the old neighborhood. The group’s been together a long time. I married in … just like Dave. Heidi would always tease about that.

What I don’t think I ever recognized until this week (perhaps until listening to those who have spoken before me) was that Heidi and I were, in a lot of ways, two peas in a pod. See if you recognize any of these:

  • full of opinions
  • vocal
  • in pursuit of family/happiness/security
  • protective
  • direct
  • pragmatic
  • career-minded
  • spiritual
  • silly, sometimes
  • in control – but not

These similarities, as you can imagine, sparked some very interesting conversations. They also kept us from having others. They sometimes pulled us apart and sometimes kept us together.

Looking back, what I now see clearly is that no matter how busy things got or crazy things became, Heidi would lobby hard to be sure that we honored the traditions of friendship … of family … even when it would certainly have been easier to just let it go. Christmas Dinners … Easter Brunches … Birthday Get-togethers … Afternoon Teas … her favorites. I believe she thought that if we let it go once, it would be gone forever.

I got to spend the night in the hospital with Heidi the night after Mary was born. She didn’t want to ask me, but she was tired, a bit frustrated (ah, that new mother feeling), and sore. As she was struggling with asking for help, I finally said, “Heidi, you just say the word and I’ll stay.” She nodded. I stayed.

That night, we talked about all sorts of things. Diaper coupons, formula, diaper cream, congestion … the lovely topics that come up when you first become a mother. We also talked about important things. Things like being blessed with a husband who loved and supported his children … who not only wanted to, but deeply needed to. And, while Heidi slept, Mary and I whispered secrets about what would be.

I don’t know what will be for Mary, her dad, and her little sister. Mary and I didn’t really know then … just dreams and wishes. Only one person knows and He lets things play themselves out.
But, I’ll bet He has a very special plan for this family … and for all of those who knew Heidi and who are struggling with understanding. I Con Only Imagine…


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