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"Other Colors"
by Orhan Pamuk

by Nathaniel Philbrick

August 16, 2009


Picture, if you will, a tall beautiful woman who was always, ALWAYS enthusiastic and excited and eager. That was my niece Heidi. Her sisters always said that she was so easy to shop for since no matter what they gave her – she loved it. No, she LOVED it. Even if it didn’t fit, was the wrong color or she had no use for it – she LOVED it. I gave her a bag of lemons and they could have been jewels from a distant land – she LOVED them.

Heidi always was enthusiastic about things. When they would visit family in Bozeman for the weekend, she would start crying about going home the day before they returned home! She loved going to spend the summer at Aunt Lyla’s ranch. She loved being a camp girl at Clydehurst Christian Camp in Montana. The friends that she made there were friends forever. Her friend Lori was not only a roommate for about seven years but a friend forever. She had that way about her. Carol used to say that it was hard to shop with Heidi because she knew everyone and would talk to everyone. She was a friend and counselor to so many people. She would spend all the time she needed on the phone to help others.

She also loved her family. She longed to have children and went through a lot to have them – and she loved them, even though she was sick the entire time she was pregnant at least with Whitney. She loved being a mom and her three children were her treasures – Whitney, Seth and Morgan. She loved her children and their well-being was always uppermost in her mind. Not just their physical well-being but their spiritual well-being. She was part of a group of moms that regularly prayed for their kids and they remained close even though their kids grew up and went off to school and so forth. I don’t know that Heidi ever lost a friend.

Actually, the Lord, Jesus Christ, was first in her affections. She was a devout and enthusiastic follower of Christ. She loved Christ passionately and forthrightly. She had a lovely singing voice and devoted that talent to the Lord’s service. I think the last time she sang in public was at the funeral of one of her close friends, who had also battled cancer and she too was taken far too young. Heidi and her youngest daughter, Morgan, sang together at her services.

Heidi was diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago and went through chemo and seemed to have come through OK when she was diagnosed with Chemo-induced Leukemia. She suffered through more chemo, radiation, two bone marrow transplants, months away from family in Denver and the leukemia kept coming back. They tried everything, I think, so Heidi could have more time with her children, but to no avail. Sunday afternoon about 2:20, Heidi slipped into the presence of the Lord to join her lovely voice to those who were singing praises in Heaven.

Every once in a while you have the opportunity to know someone who is truly special. That was Heidi. As her cousin Ty once said, “Everyone wants a little piece of Heidi”.

Mark and Heidi 2005

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