Sunday, September 27, 2009

My Eulogy...

All, below is the eulogy that I gave yesterday for my beautiful Heidi.
A couple of notes: I have not slept well in days. I think prior to this, over the past 4 nights, I actually slept about 8 hours total. It wasn't because I didn't try, I just kept waking up and thinking about things...especially this Eulogy. How was I going to do this? Where was I going to get the strength?

I have tried to capture it with some notes inserted for you to get a better sense of the atmosphere, but I can't really tell you what it was like from the pews...

In any regard, please read this with love in your heart. We do have video of this and I hope, at some point, to post it on this blog so you can see it as well, but for now, just read it and know we love you.

====== Begin Eulogy =====

Bill: “I wrote on the top of my paper this morning “This is a celebration, SMILE!!!” with a big smiley face….”

I have something prepared, but I would like to revisit yesterday’s service for just a couple of minutes:
(Bring the girls on stage… )

“My girls, you Inspired me yesterday with your strength, please come up here for a couple of minutes…

“Everyone, Heidi, the girls would like to tell you something…”

Girls: “This is something we wrote with our mom…”Sedgwick Sisters we are Three, together friends we’ll always be.”

Bill: “Heidi’s mom “Nana” is sick and could not be here today and we know it breaks her heart”

Girls (look at the camera by the baptismal fount): “Nana, we love you, and we miss you.”

Bill: “OK, girls, you have lost your mommy, but remember last night, all those wonderful ladies that came up here to speak? They are all great mommies, and they will always be there for you.

Now, let’s try something. … I bet there are a lot of people here who would also be there for you if you need them. Let’s see… if we ask only the people in this congregation that would be there for you if you need them to clap, what do you think would happen? Do you think anyone would clap?

(I raise my hands to the group…All 500 or so people in the congregation clap resoundingly. Wow, but as if I expected any less.)

Bill: “Ok girls, go sit down, I Love you.”

Jenny: I was inspired by your comments last night too, but I would look ridiculous in sparkly high heels up here, so forgive me.

(The crowd laughs again, Thank God.)

Every good business man has a plan B. A couple of days ago, I asked my buddy George Hartshorne that if for some reason I could not do this, if he would come up here, bail me out, and finish this. George, I love you brother, but I will give you the day off. … Instead, I will do what I have always done which is draw my strength from you all. ===pause=== I have been over this material several times and I know there are some hard spots for me. If I need to take a moment, I would ask you to clap your support and just give me a few. I know I can recover quickly now. I also know that I don’t want to just “get through this”. I want this to be special and I know now…. that no one can do this for me.

So here we go…

If you know me, you know the suit was Heidi’s idea. I would have been up here in boardshorts, sandals and a T-shirt… probably something with a big fish on it. She’s been asking me to get a new suit for several months, I couldn’t bring myself to do it because I knew why she wanted me to, so I waited…
===Long Pause===
(The crowd laughs…thank God.)

I know what Heidi would say if she were here in person right now. She would have thought about all of you and she would have said…
“Bill, It’s 11 am on a Saturday during soccer season…did you really schedule this right now?”

(The Crowd laughs, Thank God.)
==Take a deep Breath==

To which I would try and say something charming like “Honey, I was only thinking of you” But I would actually say “Honey, at least I got the suit.”
(Bill raises his hands and looks to the sky)
“Really, I am not going to spend my time up here talking about Heidi and what a wonderful, beautiful, intelligent, caring, funny, amazing, strong, fantastic, loving, passionate, genuine, gracious, stupendous, incredible, generous, supercalifragalistic woman she was. That would be too hard…
See how I snuck that in there, it was the only way that I could have done that…..
==Take a deep breath== (The Crowd Claps)

No, What I will do today is offer you thanks. Thanks for all the meals, the time, the prayers, the friendship, the love… most of all, the Love. It is what Heidi would have wanted me to do today.
And she would have wanted me to give you something back, a token of our gratitude, something that will lift your heart today. So that is what I want to do with my next words.
====Take a Deep Breath!====
I want to try to answer a couple of questions for you, questions that have been on all of our minds for the better part of 3 years now.

The first question is “Where is OUR miracle?”

Well, you probably know that in April of 2006, on the day of Jillians 5th birthday party, three and a half years ago now, Heidi had emergency surgery because she had lost half of her blood internally due to an ectopic pregnancy. When they took her away on the hospital gurney that day, things did not look good. I did not think I would ever see her again. In that moment, I prayed to God from my heart. “God, please don’t take her now.” I asked. And though I did not know it at the time, and of course you did not know it at the time, I bet that I prayed that request of God for all of you too.

Four days and several complications later, MIRACULOUSLY, we were on our way home.
So, where is our miracle? We got it. We got three and a half “bonus” years with Heidi, over a thousand days. Our Friend Kathy Murphy gave us a plaque a couple of months ago that Heidi loved, it has a prominent place on our mantle and it says ‘Each Day is a Gift.’ We received over a thousand gifts from God.

We received time to go to Hawaii, a place that she dearly loved, with our girls. We received time to ski, time to hike. Later, we received time to sit and talk, time to hold on to each other, time to sit in her lap or have her sit in ours, time to love. For her most of all, we received time for Jillian to grow from 5 to 8; Rachel to grow from 6 to 10 and Shelby to grow from 9 to “almost 12.”

I know it sounds strange that we all prayed for a miracle after we actually already had received it but I believe it is true and I hope you will too.

====Take a Deep Breath====

So, this leads me to the next question I hope to, in some way, answer for you.
“WHY?” “Why did this have to happen to our Heidi?”
Well, here’s what I believe. God knows better than we do what was best for Heidi. God has a plan and God’s plan is perfect. That there was something else, something more important for Heidi’s spirit to do than hang out here, with all of us. I have faith in that and it has comforted me.

A lot of times, this is a tough one for us humans to grab on to and we think about it a little more. What could possibly be more important than Heidi being here with us???
Well in the spirit of giving you something back, please allow me to “go there” for a couple of minutes.

First, as I thought about this, I remembered that God’s plan is perfect. Maybe God knew that the best place for Heidi to watch over and help her Girls was from heaven, not from here. Maybe she will be more powerful for them as a mom up there than she ever could have been here. This thought gave me comfort then and it still does. I hope it will do the same for you.
====Big Pause…The crowd claps…..===Take A Deep breath=====

“Ok, this is a tough one….

Second, Heidi thought about this too. She thought A LOT about it. One night, not very long ago, she told me something that made me smile and lifted my heart. Now, bear with me for one moment while I say that Heidi was an AMAZING mother to her babies. She went through labor with no help from drugs, she nursed them for a very long time, she protected them from harm and provided for them everything that they could ever want or need. She made this the true focus of her life and she was simply an incredible mother.
That night she said to me, “You know, babies die too sometimes. Think of all the babies in heaven that need help. Maybe God needs me in heaven to take care of all those babies that are up there.”

This thought comforted her in her darkest hours and I know that she would hope that it will comfort you as well.

These are just two possibilities. We can’t ever really know God’s perfect plan, but we can at least wrap our brains around some beautiful possibilities.

So, let’s leave here today with our hearts lifted, knowing that Heidi is free now to do the things that she wanted to do and let us be thankful for the “bonus time” we had with her. Time to do all those things and share all those thoughts and make memories that we never would have had a chance for. Let’s picture her more powerful than ever, looking down over us and especially her Girls. Let’s picture her loving spirit in heaven taking care of babies that need her. Let’s know that God knows better than us what was right for her spirit.

=====Take a Deep Breath=====

Let’s live our lives every day, thankful, strong and to its fullest.
It is what Heidi...
Heidi your friend,
your daughter,
your cousin,
your sister,
your mom,

It’s what Heidi, MY LOVE, would have wanted.
Once again, Thank You, and God Bless You.


  1. WOW. I don't know where you get your strength, but you have to be one of the stongest people I have ever known. Heidi was very lucky, and your girls are very lucky!
    You may or may not be familiar with this poem, I hope that at night when the strength wanes as it surely must from time to time, this will be a comfort.
    One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.
    Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
    In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.
    Sometimes there were two sets of footprints,
    other times there were one set of footprints.

    This bothered me because I noticed
    that during the low periods of my life,
    when I was suffering from
    anguish, sorrow or defeat,
    I could see only one set of footprints.

    So I said to the Lord,
    "You promised me Lord,
    that if I followed you,
    you would walk with me always.
    But I have noticed that during
    the most trying periods of my life
    there have only been one
    set of footprints in the sand.
    Why, when I needed you most,
    you have not been there for me?"

    The Lord replied,
    "The times when you have
    seen only one set of footprints in the sand,
    is when I carried you."
    Mary Stevenson

  2. My dear friend Bill,

    I'm still touch by the services and your eulogy. We, Missy, Charro and I wished we didn't have to leave you and the girls so soon. You and the girls are in our thoughts and prayers. We love you all. Hugs, Jacquie

  3. Beautiful, Bill, just beautiful. Carry on; Heidi will truly be there for you and your girls. If you ever want to hear my own "post-mortem" experiences with my mom, I've got a few of those to share, too.....I really do believe that energy just gets stronger on the other side!
    Take care,

  4. Bill... you continue to amaze all of us. It was such a blessing to be there to hug you and those precious girls... what a beautiful service, and what a beautiful tribute to our sweet Heidi. You brought us all comfort, once again and we are so thankful for you my friend.
    Now get some sleep, and know that Heidi is resting in peace in a place filled with more love than any of us could ever imagine.
    Love and hugs, Kathy

  5. Bill, Amazing, beautiful, loving, insightful and what more can I say. You gave me a glimpse of what others may say when I am gone and you gave me a bit of peace knowing that others, like Heidi, will be there when i cross over. I don't know where we go or what it will be like but I know that energy does not go away, it only changes form and whatever form Heidi is, I know it is a very powerful and positive energy that you and your girls will be able to tap into for the rest of your lives. An energy that will never disipate or disapear. I will never forget all your posts and all the wonderful things you have shared with us all. I hope that the rest of your life is filled with love and happiness.
    Forever Grateful for your insight.

  6. How can there be a reason for loss? How can someone be more powerful dead than alive? I've thought of those questions alot since my own mother died more than ten years ago. Once again, you've found the right words to express our questions and maybe answers. I hope you continue with writing this journal, because you and your girls' journeys are just beginning.And we want to hear all about them!

  7. I don't know you and your family but you're part of my family now because like you I am a dad with 3 daughters (14, 7 & 4) and I have had A.L.S. for 16 years. My heart grieves for you and your family and I know your wife wants you to some rest and let your heart find happiness. Again I am so sorry that this cruel disease has taken another incredible person. Be well and happy!

    Jeff Lester

  8. Billy,

    Thank you so much for sharing your eulogy online with those of us who could not be there to hear it in person. Your strength, wisdom and abilty to share your feelings with such grace and honesty is beyond moving. The tears I shed now are not out of sadness but happiness in the fact that you are so strong and unbelievably optimistic about life and your journeys...knowing that you and the girls will be fine.

    I hope that we can make it to CO soon to give each of you a huge hug, share some laughs and a few tears and toast to Heidi's magnificent spirit that will always be here to touch and inspire us.

    Love you.


    (The story about the sign and the candle killed me, btw...I'll cry when thinking about that one for the next few months.)

  9. Bill, Jillian, Rachel and Shelby, I am very proud of all of you and know that you will be strong in the future. As I said last week, you have all done an outstanding job. Heidi is also happy. Hawaii will be great. I love you, Mutti/ Oma