Life Today

Not Very Merry

I had premonitions about this Christmas.

Perhaps I should have paid more attention.

I was asked to write our Team’s Holiday letter to our nonprofit clients.

My colleagues rejected it for being too sad.

“It’s not sad,” I said, “it’s realistic. Look at everything going on right now. I can’t possible send a cheery, all is well with the world letter. It would not be honest.”

“Heather, I read this and felt terrible.”

Fine, fine, fine….to their defense, as I was writing the San Bernardino shooting was unfolding so it might have been a touch melancholy. 

The next day I did my knee in.

This is not the end of the world but I do tend to work out my angst by working out. I also like cookies. And I tend to work those out too. There has been no working out in December; hence my overindulgence of cookies and angst.

I knew I was going in on a blue streak and I think I was okay with that. Not every Christmas in my life has been happy. 

One Christmas Eve was spent at relatives in Illinois. There was a HUGE pile of presents under the tree and all I got was a crappy Candy Land. I cried hysterically because my cousin got a Baby-Burps a lot AND matching Baby Burps A lot outfits! 

My mother drug me out of my Aunt’s house apologetically telling everyone I was fine, just a tad overstimulated.

Overstimulated my foot. I totally got jipped. Forty years later and I still have an aversion to Candy Land. 

Stupid Gumdrop Mountain.  

That was a blue Christmas.

Another time the whole family got the stomach flu at my Grandma’s house. She only had two bathrooms. Green Christmas.

But I wasn’t quite prepared for this Christmas. 

The 23rdgreeted me with the loss of two of our Littles in the special needs community. Two in one day….two too many.

Seven too many this year.

I stood in the shower that morning watching the soap circle the drain thinking ‘I don’t know how to process this much loss.’

While scrubbing my feet I decided 2016 was a great year to return to therapy. I do love therapy and an hour to talk about me and only me. But more important was the realization that this community has a lot of unbelievable loss- loss that needs to be acknowledged but cannot be carried alone.

The Christmas after we lost Samantha, some good friends found a spot on a tiny island in British Columbia and planted a tree in her memory. The tree was a Charlie Brown spruce with a tuft of needles reminiscent of Samantha’s crazy hair. 

Our friends hike up to “Sammy’s Point” every Christmas to hang an ornament and take a picture of how her tree has grown.

This year they placed an ornament in memory of our other Littles too. 

Thank you great Northern Friends. 

I don’t know how to close out this holiday. My heart breaks for these parents and how their lives have changed. 

And I fear we might all get stuck in Molasses Swamp with the infamous Grandma Nutt when all we wanted was a Baby Burps A lot. 

Bah Humbug. 

To 2016. 

And therapy. 

Life Today

Crazy Optimism

Tomorrow is Colorado Gives Day!!!! 

A chance for us to give to our favorite nonprofits in our area and to even get a match by First Bank. 

Thanks First Bank! You’re the Colorado Bank for me 🙂 

There will be many deserving, amazing causes. There always are. 

And I will be out there, creating a ruckus for my cause, Miracles for Mito 

It is hard to describe what this nonprofit has done for me. We started it four months after we lost Samantha. Her Memorial Fund had raised $8,000. 

What to do with $8,000? 

We could have given it to Children’s- a cause you know is so dear to my heart. 

We could have given it to the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation- A nonprofit who fights everyday to find a cure or treatment for Mitochondrial Disease- the disease that has rocked our family. 

Or……we could create something. Something in Colorado to help Mitochondrial Families. 

Would this work? 

How many Mitochondrial Families are out there? 

At the time, I knew five. 

Can we create a nonprofit to support five families? 

But nothing else felt so right and so daring and so perfect to do in the memory of our girl. 

Five years later, we support 80 families in the Rocky Mountain Region. When a child gets diagnosed with a Mitochondrial Disease or suspected Mitochondrial disease, they are referred to us for support. 

We are the only game in town for Mitochondrial Support. 

I love what we have done. I love working with our President, Maria. I love our board and I love our mission. 

It is not always easy. This is a heart wrenching disease that steals hopes and futures. But I can’t be anywhere else. It’s impossible to care about a cause more. 

Nonprofits are created out of passion, love and a crazy optimistic hope that you can change a situation. This right here is my crazy optimistic hope. 

So tomorrow, if you can…give a bit….two days of Starbucks. 

It might not be for us and that’s okay but feed a passion, fuel a love, be a hope. 

Happy Colorado Gives 🙂 

Life Today


My grief is a mole on my chin.

I face it in the morning as I brush my teeth.

I examine it at night after I take off my make up. Wondering if it has grown, is it infected? Or just irritated? Many times just irritated. Volatile little thing.

At times it is HUGE and it takes over my entire face. Perhaps the first thing people notice.

At times it is small and I think only adds to my character.

Regardless, it is there everyday.

And I stare in mirror and pick at it and say ‘What will I do with you today?’ 

Will I try to cover you up? Will I let you consume who I am? Or add to my character? 

What will I do with you today?  

The last couple weeks have been heartbreaking and soul searching. Ironically, I have also become close with some amazing Mamas who have recently lost their Littles and are navigating through life with strength and tears and grace.

To look at these beautiful Mamas, you would never know they examine the mirror with scrutiny; examining their grief, wondering how it has changed them, wondering if it will consume them. 

They look just like you or me. 

Crazy thing about grief. 

And so I thought we should meet for brunch; Eggs Benedict, Mimosas and a hearty helping of Grief al la mode. 

Of the eight of us, four of us have lost, three have a Little with a life limiting disease and one poor woman came along for the ride. 

And I know what you are thinking…..Heather, I would love to join you all but sadly I have a pap-smear, mammogram followed by a session of sticking bamboo up my toenails and that just sounds like more fun. 

I get it. And no judging. 

But I had a wonderful time. We told stories that would make non-mole carrying people shudder. And we told them with wild abandon, honesty and empathy.  We could be each others reflection; bouncing ideas, tears, anger and laughter off each other. 

“Do you see it?” I said pointing at my chin, “It’s soooo freakin’ big! I think it has taken over my face.” 

“Nah, it’s there but if you didn’t point it out I would have never noticed. Does it hurt?” 

“Some days. Some days it hurts like a mother f*#cker. Most days I’m just aware it’s there.” 

Crazy thing about grief.