Heidi's Marvelous Life
by Bill Raley
Heidi died on Monday, July 29, 2019, around 2:45 PM. She was alert and talking with family, albeit with effort, at 1 PM. She said that she was ready. When asked if she was at peace, she replied, “Finally.” She was not in pain. In her last minutes she was holding my chin and beard with one hand while Polly held the other, nuzzling her shoulder. Rachel was holding her feet. Heidi's breathing slowed, Polly began to sing, and Rachel felt Heidi relax. After two more slow breaths and a final, subtle frisson, Heidi died. One cannot imagine a more peaceful, beautiful death. Heidi, taking care of us right up to the end, made it easy for us. As Polly said, Heidi “died as she lived: Radiant and surrounded by loved ones.”
Ben was with Heidi a short time before her death, and within a minute or so afterwards. When she died, Ben was working on her coffin. Heidi would have appreciated what was going on in the moment of her death.
Here’s what happened: When the mail carrier walked up the driveway, Ben noticed she looked dejected, so he asked how she was doing. She replied that the mail had just fallen out of her truck and none of the people who saw it offered to help her gather it from the street. Now it was all unsorted. She said to Ben, “Thanks for asking; how is your day going?” Ben replied, “I am making a casket.” Heidi would’ve liked to have seen the mail lady’s expression.
NHFREA welcomes original writings. Most of our readers are interested in new thinking about ways to make after-death care and memorialization of loved ones more meaningful, eco-friendly, and cost conscious. Contact us for submission guidelines.