Saturday, March 30, 2013


Sometimes on my way to Warwick, I will drive by the Lincoln Park Cemetery. Every time I pass by, I look over the guard rail at the tombstones and think to myself, "One of those is Heather's." Sometimes, I'll actually try to lean over and read the names as if in that nano-second the cemetery is in view, I'll find her name.

It's been nearly a year since her death and I still find myself thinking about her periodically. The odd thing is that it's not like we had a close friendship. We met at a new moms support group and got together a few times after the group disolved. Once or twice a year, we'd call each other to catch up, maybe trade some baby stuff as we would announce to each other that another one was on the way. We kept in touch even less frequently when she moved overseas.

When I heard through the grapevine she was back stateside, I told myself I had to call her, but I procrastinated on that. And then I heard the horrible news she had taken her own life. At her funeral, I mourned her loss and the fact I had not tried harder to stay in contact with her. But now, a year later, as I once again drive by the cemetery looking for her, it strikes me the impact she had on my life however brief her presence in it might have been.

Many people would like to be creative, impulsive or to think outside the box, but I think Heather truly did. The few times we got together, I really enjoyed hearing her stories or her latest ideas or what her next adventure was going to be. She taught me that tofu could taste really good if I dredged it in brewer's yeast; "an old hippie trick" she said. She taught me that a safe home birth was possible. She helped me set up a babysitting co-op. She introduced me to women who are friends to this day. She showed me it was ok to step outside your comfort zone.

There were so many people at Heather's funeral, sharing their fond memories of her. I think it was because she impacted a lot of people, in small ways maybe, but significant enough that we wanted to be at her funeral to acknowledge the loss of a remarkable woman. And it broke my heart wondering if she knew just how many people she had touched.

This is what I want you to hear: you might go through life and meet people and not think too much of it. You might go through what you think is your mundane day, wishing you could have a greater impact on the world. But you are making an impact. Whether you know it or not, whether you ever become aware of it or not. In some small way, someone is probably really glad they talked to you today, and you might never know how your small act made a large difference.

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