Today is the ten-year anniversary of my mom’s death. I think Dr. Phil calls it one of the 5 defining moments in your life, I think this was my number 1 moment. My mother was  hit by a bus, yes I know it’s an expression that doesn’t really happen but in her case it did. She was 60 years old, celebrating my dad’s birthday with all of their dear friends and  loving life when this happened not only to us but to 3 other families as well.

A decade later and I still miss her everyday, think about picking up the phone to give her a call. I wish she was here, to see the men her grandsons are becoming. Some days it feels like yesterday and others seem so much longer, since I received that fateful call in the middle of the night.

The tears stopped long ago but that void is always there.  I think the magic and irony of loss is that with it comes growth. There isn’t a forest fire with out new fertile soil and a new forest, an earthquake without rebuilding, a death without a rebirth.

My mother’s death began my rebirth. I really do appreciate moments that before, went by unnoticed. I spend my time and try to use it as the gift that it is. I am driven to make a difference and feel she is propelling me to do so. My joy comes from my children and truly by helping others. This is my rebirth.

It began a year after my mother’s death when a friend asked me to come down to Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. My friend John, was a hospital chaplain, for a hospital that had 300,000 patients come through its doors with only 2 chaplains, no one at night and no one on weekends. He asked for help from 10 of us and I knew it was something I had to do. In that hallway at CHLA almost 10 years ago we founded The Spiritual Care Guild, a non-profit that provides non-denominational chaplains at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles.

Today, we have chaplains 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Founding Spiritual Care Guild  was my rebirth. Seeing the thousands of families that have chaplains by their children’s bedside has brought purpose to my mother’s death and giving has brought more joy than receiving ever could.

I know each week I tell the stories of people who started these non-profits but what I haven’t shared with you is that their story is mine as well. I too am one of these people.  This is not my pulpit but simply my voice. Giving, service and charity have healed me in unexpected and imaginable ways.  I share this in hopes it might do the same for you or someone you love.

I still miss my mom but know that wherever she is, she’s smiling.

This is why Charity Matters so much to me.   

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  1. I’m crying! I know your story, but to read it is a whole different story. Sending you big hugs! Love ya, Amy

    Sent from my iPad

  2. Elita Balfour Reply

    Heidi, what a beautiful post. Your mothers presence is in your heart soul. Thank you for your kindnesses to so many. You are an inspiration to all. I know your mother is bursting with pride.

    Sent from my iPhone

  3. Heidi, what a simply beautiful post. Her presence is in your heart and
    soul. Thank you for your kindnesses to
    so many; you are an inspiration to
    all. I know your mother is bursting with

  4. Heather Richardson Reply


    One of my best friends Lauren Bender sent me an email this morning with the link to your article. It will be three years in June since I lost my Dad to Cancer. He was on the tennis courts one day and died three months later. He was one of very favorite people and I miss him everyday.

    I’ m so glad Lauren shared this article with me, you are an inspiration. I recently told Lauren that I was ready to do “something” I wanted to make my Dad proud and I was trying to figure out what it was. What you’ve done is amazing and it’s inspired me to get going. I hope to meet you one day, as Lauren speaks very highly of you!

    Heather Richardson

    • Heather,
      Your kind words made my day. Thank you for sharing your story. When the time is right you will know what will come from your loss. Of one thing I’m sure…your dad is already so proud of you.


  5. Very moving and touching Heidi. Not a day goes by where I do not think about you, your family, your Mom, and your Dad. I am a bit of a loss for words (me of all people!).

    • Oh Ed,

      You are so sweet, thank you. Our families will forever be linked by Nov 9th, it is a day that changed us all. Thinking about you and your family today also

  6. David Rodriguez Reply

    Thank you Heidi. I never met your Mom, but we see her sweetly reflected in you. Love and Blessings,

    • Thank you Dave,

      Thank you for your lovely words and for your weekly “likes” it makes life so rewarding knowing great people are reading. Many thanks,


  7. Stephanie Moffat Reply

    So beautiful, Heidi. Your mother’s legacy is carried on with all of your thoughtful acts and inspiration for others, and through those awesome sons you are raising too!

    • Thank you Stephanie,
      I so appreciate your words. Coming from an awesome English teacher and a good friend, they mean that much more!

  8. Stephanie Jenal Reply

    Dear Heidi, Your words speak with the eloquence of the heart, and your wonderful work is a testament to love in action. Your mother gave you a beautiful gift, and you have passed it on with grace and vision. I don’t know if you ever took my Death and Dying class, but you epitomize all I endeavored to teach my students so many years ago! Blessings to you!

    • Thank you Ms. Jenal,
      Your words mean so much. I can’t tell you how I have regretted not taking your class but like most things learned the hard way. Such a gift you give so many in teaching us about loss, it is life’s hardest lesson but the richest for sure,

  9. Lisa Vandergriff Reply

    The Spiritual Care Guild is truly an amazing organization and what a remarkable way to turn your loss into something that brings comfort to so many day after day. You’re an inspiration, Heidi!

  10. Dear Heidi,
    My heart is with you and your family. I’ll always remember your mom’s service and how inspired I felt from hearing the beautiful stories about how she was so dearly loved by her family and friends, how they felt so loved by her, and how through the years, she touched countless people with the work she did in her community. I remember thinking that she left a legacy incredibly rich, and so full of spirit and love… that if I can take one thing from her very tragic and untimely passing, it is the lesson of leaving this world having made a difference… to those you love and to those you don’t know. Your mother may be your guiding light Heidi (and I truly believe she is), but you have a spirit of giving like no one else I know and the ability to take making a difference to a level most of us can only dream of. Your mother is absolutely smiling!

    • Sue,

      You made me cry this morning with your lovely words. Thank you, thank you, they are such a gift to me as is your friendship. I am so blessed to be surrounded by such incredible women, like you, that remind me of my mom and share many of her traits. You my dear, make a difference for all who know you. You have already made a huge difference for me in my life.

      Much love,

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