Lisa, thank you for your beautiful Eulogy. I am comforted to know through you that Heather was the same wonderful girl I was friends with in college. You inspired me to share the memories I have of her.
Yesterday I just found out a girl I went to college with my first semester passed away suddenly. Heather will forever be a girl in my mind, even though she lived to be 41. Heck I am 41 and still think of myself as a girl most days.
I was no longer in touch with Heather. In fact we were only friends for maybe 4 months of my life. I met her in my first semester of college at Montserrat College of Art and then returned back home to an in-state university. Those first few months of college had a deep effect on me. There are a handful of people from that time that I think of often, and Heather was one of them. So much did these first few months of college impact me, I wrote and illustrated a short story about it in a bookmaking class near the end my college career. Two of the illustrations in the book had to do with Heather. I will share them with my stories.
I only re-connected with Heather once briefly a ways back, probably 10 yrs ago. We had exchanged a few messages and I was happy to know she was well.
Selfishly, I wish I didn’t know that Heather is gone. Then I could go on thinking of her from time to time. Imagining her going along in her life, making art, being happy, making others laugh with her silliness. But still, I think I will share some memories, in hopes that she will live on through this- in hopes that it might comfort or bring a smile to someone else who knew her.
Stories of Heather:
HOW WE MET
Heather was in my art History class. She borrowed notes from me one day. When she came to my apt. to return them I was in my room crying ( missing my friends and hometown boyfriend, feeling like a general outcast). My roommate didn’t know this, and let her in. When she knocked on my bedroom door I tried to look normal and quickly take my notes back but she whispered “are you OK?, can I come in?” This girl who didn’t know me from anyone, really, was kind enough to come in and comfort me. I wish I could remember it better, but I know we talked and talked and connected and realized we often felt the same way around crowds of people. She didn’t leave until she was sure I felt better. This is how we became friends.
I wish I remember our times together better. I know we spent quite a bit of time in her apt with her roommate Michele. I remember their place being so pretty and “grown –up”. It inspired me to redecorate my next dorm. I remember listening to Julie Cruise, Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack, and watching Alice and Wonderland. I recall visiting the local “antique” store where we would dig through boxes of old items and scare each other over the creepy marionettes that sat glassy eyed in the basement level. I vaguely remember convincing Heather and Michele to come to the Halloween party after most people had left to just DANCE!! Oh! And this one time when Heather was pushing Michele in a shopping cart while whooping it up down a hallway right into the middle of a life drawing class (unbeknownst to them!!) OMG her face was so red. I felt bad to laugh but I couldn’t help it!!! Even though I can’t remember events that well, I remember Heather as kind, adorable, sweet, talented, and so delightfully silly. If I had stayed on at Montserrat I have no doubt that we would have remained friends
HOW WE SAID GOODBYE
At the end of first semester, I’d decided to transfer to my home state university. I hoped I would somehow be able to keep in touch with Heather, but I think we both knew life would take us separate ways. On parting she gave me something. It was a blown out eggshell with the ends re-sealed painted gold. When I shook it I could tell there was something inside. She said “when you miss me, break it open”. The egg was so pretty I didn’t break it open for quite some time. Of course eventually, I just had to know what was inside of it. When I carefully cracked it open it contained round candy rainbow sprinkles, a tiny red candle and a rolled up message that ready “merry un-birthday”…
Goodbye dear Heather, may you be sparkling down on us all. The world will miss the beauty of your art and the love that was widely felt by all around you.