Thursday, November 29, 2012

Moving Onward

I'm still dealing with the death of my cousin.  I told K that I think I am finding it more difficult to get over in part because I am pregnant, in part because of the specific circumstances surrounding her death.  Drunk driver, being so young, having a young child at home.  I get through most days without crying now, but I still think of her often, and will for what I imagine is a very long time.

The drunk driver had his arraignment last week, and plead not guilty to the 8 (or was it 9?) counts he was charged with.  It turns out that he can only be convicted on up to 4 of the counts, with a maximum sentence of 27 (or was it 28?) years in prison.  That seems like such a short time considering what he took away, but I recognize that is how the laws are, and that I feel so strongly about it because this tragedy has affected me personally.  The trial will happen sometime in February.  I'm hopeful that I can go and be a support to my family.

The funeral was beautiful, and well attended.  Proof at how beautiful a person Heidi was, and how loved she was.

I walked away from all of this with a fresh outlook on life.  A reminder to keep those friends that I hold dear closer to me.  I'm at the point in my life where I have a lot of acquaintances  but only a handful of people that I consider true friends.  I've never been the best at keeping in constant contact with people, but I'm vowing to do better.  To keep reminding them what they mean to me, how important they are.  To see them more often.  To continue to bestow the love upon them that they deserve.

To spend more time just watching bug as she continues to learn more things.  Even if it means leaving the dirty dishes in the sink until tomorrow.  It's OK, they'll get done.  Any moment with bug that I miss I can't gain back.

Being the season, I am so thankful that I had Heidi in my life.  That she was a part of my family and always taught me the meaning of a pure heart.  That I got to see her one last time shortly before she left this world to become an angel.  That I know her fiancee and daughter will remain a part of this family, and a part of my life, forever.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

It's so hard to say Goodbye

Dear Heidi,

Being family, we’ve known each other forever.  Even though you were a few years older, during all of our family gatherings you made sure that I felt included.  I was the baby of the family, and there really were quite a few of us.  You have always been the you that you grew into; a sweet, caring, loving person that has a smile that lights up the room and an ability to rub off on someone that may be feeling down.  When we were at family gatherings I can always remember searching you out, even as I got a little older.  It was the way you made everyone feel at ease, the way you made them WANT to be around you.  As adults we didn't see each other often, in fact not nearly often enough.  We made it to each other’s weddings, but sadly yours was short lived.  It was OK though, he was a real jerk.  Brad, your long term man, is a sweetheart.  I can remember your beautiful voice, oh my it was amazing.  I even asked you to sing at my wedding, but it had only been about a year and 1/2 since your mom passed, and you always sang with your mom.  You weren't quite ready, and I understood that.

I can’t tell you just how excited I was when  found out you were pregnant.  Even though I don’t know, and probably never will, I wondered if you had difficulties.  You may not have, it may have just been the fact that you made it through a rough marriage and then back out the other side.  I watched facebook religiously for the updated pregnancy pictures, and sat on the edge of my seat as your due date neared.  Right around Christmas last year you welcomed your little bundle of joy into the world, and named her Peyton.  She’s a cutie, let me tell you.  I was so happy for you both!

I’d known for a while that you did photography, but was so glad when I made the decision to ask you to do Bug’s 2 year pictures.  As the day got close I got more and more excited to see you, remembering the person that you've always been, even if it had been a few years since I’d seen you.  We had a great day!  We roamed around the park and got a TON of good pictures, including one of my personal favorites of our two little girls playing together.  Ok, it was Peyton pulling Bug’s hair and Bug looking at her like she was crazy J  It was an amazing day.  I remember laughing about what the girls were to each other, was it first cousins twice removed?  Maybe second cousins?  I’m not sure we ever figured it out.  We had a blast at lunch catching up on old times, and even sneaking in a few pictures.  It was the day that I knew Bug would be OK around a baby, because once she warmed up to Peyton she loved her with all her heart and cried when we left.

You were going to come up when the baby was born, to see us all.  We had agreed to make a point of our children knowing each other growing up, like we did.  We were not going to let our lives get away from us again.  And the last few months we kept in touch, we were starting off on the right foot.

But now I have to say goodbye.  It’s not right, it’s not fair.  Every time I think of you now I laugh, and then I cry.  This wasn't how it was supposed to go, it wasn't how it was supposed to end.  Not that I have a say in the matter, but I wish I did because you’d still be here.  Posting pictures of Peyton and requests for help and idea’s in our mom’s group.  I love you Heidi and miss you already.  Please know that Peyton will always know how much her mama loved her, how wonderful a person her mama was.


This was the best way I could get out my thoughts to a wonderful woman who was taken from us too soon.  Here is her story, and please let it be a reminder to tell your friends and family often how much you love them, and to NEVER pick up the keys when you shouldn't.

Last Thursday night, November 8, 2012.  Heidi and her family went grocery shopping.  They were heading home around 8:45pm when they got caught at a stop light.  A red Toyota pickup truck rear ended them doing somewhere between 80 and 100 miles an hour, slamming them into a tow truck that was stopped in front of them.  The car caught fire.  Heidi was in the right rear passenger seat and her significant other, Brad, was driving.  Upon impact she had enough forethought to throw herself over her daughter to help protect her.  When the EMS arrived, they declared Heidi dead at the scene.  Peyton and Brad were rushed to two different hospitals in critical condition.  Thankfully, they both made it and have since been released.  While they are physically healing, they have to now learn to live without their mother, girlfriend, best friend.  Heidi was 1 month shy of her 37th birthday.

The man that hit them was drunk.  He blew 3 times the legal limit – around a .26.  He did not have a valid driver’s license, nor has he in 20 years.  He was driving his employers truck.  He has 5 prior DUI convictions, as well as convictions for identity theft and fraud.  He showed no remorse when advised what he had done.  Why was this man still walking the streets, allowed to make these choices with the history he had?  Why are our laws not tougher?  He never should have been allowed to be in a position where he could take a life before it was time.  Never.

Today they filed the Aggravated Vehicular Homicide and Vehicular assault charges.  It will never be enough, it will never bring her back.  Tomorrow we say goodbye to her, to this amazing soul with a smile a mile wide that never seemed to leave her face.  

December 24, 2000.  Heidi’s mom, my Aunt.  Driving home was hit head on by a drunk driver.  We lost her too.  My only solace at this point is knowing that they are holding each other in heaven, mother and daughter, watching over all of us, but especially watching over Peyton.  She has 2 guardian angels now.