Nitty Gritty Dirty Grief

Samantha’s Obituary

Here is Samantha’s Obituary. It was printed in the Loveland Reporter Herald yesterday.

Her daddy wrote it.

SCHICHTEL, Samantha, 4, daughter of Bart and Heather Schichtel. Memorial Service 11 a.m. Saturday, July 31, at Faith Evangelical Church.

Publish date: 7/27/2010

SamanthaSCHICHTEL , 4, of Loveland, passed away July 25, 2010.

Samantha was born July 18, 2006, at McKee Medical Center in Loveland to Heather (Simms) and Bart Schichtel.

Samantha was truly a gift, bringing joy to everyone she met; a spark when encountered brought a lasting, sticky happiness.

Adorable, beautiful, gorgeous, sweet, angelic, enchanting, captivating, infectious, innocent, and oh so incredibly cute, she is deeply loved and will be missed by so many.

Samantha is survived by her parents, Bart and Heather Schichtel of Loveland; grandparents Jim and Judi Bishop of Highlands Ranch, Rick and Cynde Simms of Littleton and Evelyn Schichtel of Staunton, Va.

She was preceded in death by her brother, Jack Schichtel; and grandfather Ralph Schichtel.

A memorial service will be held at Faith Evangelical Church, 2707 N. Wilson in Loveland, at 11 a.m. Saturday, July 31. Picnic lunch to follow at the Fairgrounds Park in Loveland.

The Samantha Schichtel Memorial Fund has been established at Wells Fargo Bank.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to 5951 South Middlefield Road, Suite 105, Littleton, Colo. 80123

Please visit to view Samantha’s online obituary, sign the family guest book and send condolences.

Nitty Gritty Dirty Grief

Final (hopefully) Memorial Information

Hi All:

The service will be at Faith Evangelical Church at 11:00 on Saturday, July 31st.

The church is at 2707 N. Wilson in Loveland.

A picnic lunch will follow at Fairgrounds Park in Loveland, 700 S. Railroad Ave. Maps will be provided at the service.

All events are welcome to kids. The park has a wonderful water area so please feel free to dress casually or bring a change of clothes for after the service….the kiddos might want bathing suits.

We will provide sandwiches for the picnic. If you would like to bring a side dish or beverage (the pavilion does allow beer and wine), that would be lovely but it is not necessary. We would just like to celebrate Samantha’s life with you.

We know weekend time is precious and schedules are busy. Please feel free to attend the picnic but not the service (or vice versa) if you have other commitments.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Samantha Schichtel Memorial Fund
5951 S. Middlefield Road, Suite 105
Littleton, CO 80123

Or by making a contribution to the Samantha Schichtel Memorial Fund at any Wells Fargo Bank

Thank you again…all of you. We have never felt alone on this road and it because of you.

Heather and Bart

Nitty Gritty Dirty Grief

Beyond the door, there’s peace I’m sure….

Our home health agency picked up Samantha’s supplies today.

– 30 tanks of oxygen
– two feeding pumps
– one oxygen concentrator
– one IV pump
– one suction machine
– one pulse oyx machine

This is what we rented from the health agency. We still have boxes and boxes of medical supplies that we have purchased for Samantha’s everyday special needs.

Dismantling our fortress of medical equipment, I felt like a General who had lost a war, who was moving her troops out, who was surrendering her gun.

It was quite surreal.

Everything was moved into the living room and I stared at the pile of medical equipment, a fourth of what we still have to sort through. I looked at my mom.

“I had no idea we had all of this,” I said.

She looked at me with sad eyes, “Samantha was a sick little girl.”

“She never seemed sick to me, she just seemed like Samantha.”

“She was just Samantha to all of us.”

I was not sad to see the pile of equipment be loaded onto the truck and carried away. I was not sad to look at the truck and think I hope we never have to see that truck again.

There is a hole in our house as big as the Grand Canyon….a hole where Lil’ Miss used to be. I tend to get stuck in that hole and wonder how I will ever, ever get out.

But I will not miss that truck.

The Samantha Years

Sam I am

Here is my new super sleek jersey for the Courage Classic

It has magic powers…..powers of perseverance, strength and fighting the odds.

Sam I am….

I am Sam….

Well really I’m not….I am Heather but many times I feel that Samantha is my left hip, my right shoulder, my heart and soul….so in a way, I am Sam.

This is Gram

Gram gave me the lovely jersey as a riding present…..well, Grandpa Jim did too but Gram rhythms better with Sam, and ham and WHAM! and blam and who I am.

I think they would both say “I am Sam” too….perhaps many people would 🙂 She’s an infectious Lil’ Miss
The Samantha Years

Courage Diaries 2009

Our ride is 9 days away! A year ago we were training from the hospital. Here is our ‘Courage Diary Part I’ from 2009

There is No ‘I’ in Team…..But I Did Find Me.

July 14:

We are in Children’s Hospital; our unsought home away from home. I’m watching over my daughter, Samantha as I wait for my husband to deliver my bike. Two weeks and counting until the Courage Classic. I need a training ride.

I put my bike shoes on while watching Samantha’s heart monitor….what was I thinking in signing up for this ride? We have waaaaayyyy to much going on.


I signed up for the Courage Classic; three days on my bike, 156 miles in the mountains. It’s huge fundraiser for Children’s Hospital . My bike was propped sadly against a wall in the garage; dusty with two flat tires. I had a lot of work to do but I figured I had time. July was a very long, long way away, right?


Two hospitalizations for Samantha and more procrastination from me.


I realized I only had two months to get my butt in gear. Samantha’s team started to form. As people started to fundraise, I realized this was much more than a ride through the mountains. This was a ride for many personal causes. This was a chance for people to do something for my daughter, a chance to ride in herhonor. Samantha’s Grandpa Jim wrote a heartfelt testimonial on his fundraisersite.

“I ride so that someday my granddaughter Samantha can ride.”

Well crap, now I guess I’m committed.

Once again, family and friends have come along for our bumpy ride, for our crazy life parade. I often wonder if I would be as philanthropic as my community if this were happening to another family. Would I sign up for a 156 mile bike ride to support a friend? Would I opt out? Biking Vail pass is hard. I try to avoid hard things.

Ironically, hard things still tend to find us.


Samantha is hospitalized with a staph infection. The infection was dectected in her ear and bladder meaning that it has colonized throughout her body. She ison I.V. antibiotics. We have ten different speciality teams on our case.

Our Courage Classic Team has raised $4,000 for Children’s Hospital. But I amdoubting my decision to take on this ride. I’m sad to think that I would have todrop out because she was not doing well. Alas, another event we would have tocancel; another testament to our variable, uncertain life.

Au contraire, mon frere.

The longer we are in the hospital, the more my team grows. At home, myhusband packs up the essentials: clean underwear, meals and then loads up mybike, helmet, gloves, water bottles and drives down to Children’s Hospital. Ourmedical team encourages me to get out and asks about my training. They allreassure me that they can handle Samantha’s medical needs, on their own, while I go out and ride.

“Are you sure you’ll be okay? I’ll be gone about two hours” I tell a nurse

“Heather, this is a hospital.”

I learn to release my mama controls just a little bit.

Perhaps I needed to release the controls just a little bit

Because being in the hospital stinks.

Being in the hospital 80+ days out of your three-year old daughter’s life reallystinks. Even if Children’s is a state-of-the-art, best-of-the-best hospital with reallycool X-Box machines in every room, my heart still breaks every time we areadmitted.

July 14:

My husband steps into the room, he eyes my attire and laughs….bike shorts and jerseys just aren’t typical at the hospital.

“You’re itchin’ to get out aren’t you?”

“Feeding is at two, meds have been given and our nurses’ name is Kelly. I have my cell phone.”

“You won’t need it…..go”

I ride…I turn my back from the hospital. Ironically, I found someone during these rides. I found a woman who is strong, who likes the sound of her heart beating when she is doing a hard climb. A woman who loves her daughter dearly but also loves the feeling of clearing her head as she leaves the hospital for a long ride; a woman who can briefly shed oxygen tanks, feeding tubes and I.V. meds for a little while because she has a very, very good team.

I slow down at a curve and brake a little too suddenly. It’s alright. You can let go of the controls….just a little bit.