Today, just before sitting down to a Thanksgiving feast with my children, I received the news that my friend, Heide Hatcher, passed away last night.
I met her through my friend, Sharon. We spent a Mother's Day at Whiskeytown Lake, four moms and our kids. Sharon, and her bio daughter, Isa. Kelly and her two little girls, adopted from China. Me, and my two adopted children. And Heide, and her two adopted girls. Both Kelly and Heide adopted as single woman. Sharon and I divorced and coparenting with our exes.
I was struck by the beauty of Heide's children, HanneMae and Badaboo. Both African-American, HanneMae with skin the color of cappuccino, and ringlets. Badaboo's very dark skin and crinkly hair a testament to her Ethiopian heritage.
I got to know Heide better after her breast cancer diagnosis, about a year and half ago. We formed a group of friends to surround her, since she had no family near. We cared for her kids, cooked her food, spent the night at her house. She had a hard time with chemo and radiation. We thought she'd beat the monster.
Early this year, the pain in her back led her to realize the monster had returned. Numerous back surgeries caused her immense pain. She moved between Stanford and a local convalescent hospital.
Her girls alternated between two homes of friends. As recently as last Friday, our group of friends met to figure how best to help her.
This week she was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia. I understand she passed away peacefully last night. A few of her friends were there when it happened.
She was an amazing woman. She served as the director/principal at Whiskeytown Environmental School for a very long time. She was a devoted mom. And she was a great friend.
I'll miss her, and think of her always.
I'm going to go hug my kids again now. If you have kids, go do the same. And give thanks.