Celebrating the Life of Heather Anne Swanson

by Cindi SutterFounder & Editor of Spirited Table® 

Heather left this earth on June 22nd. Some of her happiest moments were with her twin sister Kirsten. Kirsten was waiting in heaven for Heather to arrive. So I have no doubt that they are taking care of each other in the presence of our Holy God. Heather spent a lot of time on Madeline Island. She and Ted, her stepfather, took long walks every morning! Her mother Dawn and I picked berries, gardened and went for long boat rides with Heather. 

This Sunday my husband Bob and I want to share our eulogies to Heather, who spent the last 12+ years of her life suffering from a brain injury. Don't be sad, she shed a brighter light on her circumstances than anyone I know. Heather Anne Swanson 8/14/1970-6/22/2017. 

My eulogy to Miss Heather...

How do you feel at the end of the day? 

Are you grateful for the gift of another day on this planet? 

For the last dozen or so years, Miss Heather always lived in the moment.

Whether we were making fun of Bob or possibly the fact Ted (her stepfather) had woken her up way too early for their daily coffee walk to town, or better yet, her woohoo comments to me about their trips to the dump with all that trash…. 

No matter what… she modeled being fully alive and engaged in that moment. 

Think about it… she didn’t waste one single second on what happened yesterday or what unpredictable thing might happen tomorrow. 

For Heather,  being truly present in that moment meant she experienced each one of them to the best of her ability. 

I’m not so sure that I can always say that, but for her I will try harder to give myself permission to savor each day, each hour and every minute. 

So in honor of Heather, let’s allow ourselves to live life as fully and passionately as possible, in the moments God gives us. 

We love you Heather. We’re cheering for you as you pass it on… throughout heaven. 

Bob Sutter's remembrances of Heather...

Every year for more years than I can remember, you both have been gracious enough to invite us to 6 Gables. For the last decade or so, most of our visits coincided with Heather being there as well. Every year Cindi and I came to hope she would be there, as she very much enhanced our stay.

I am a jokester, da. Heather would repeatedly be mystified how someone who was far from a serious person could have been President of several organizations. I think she felt I was only suited to lead a room full of circus clowns.

I enjoyed the banter with Heather, not just because it made her smile, but also because it showed me her significant sense of humor. She would joke about your foibles Ted, my silliness, past boyfriends and we even debated whether cats were smarter then dogs. We all know where she came in on that one. Our repartee gave me much joy. Why? Because I realized that Heather had to have many anxious moments trying to remember things or not knowing when she would have another episode. Talking with her was somewhat selfish as I enjoyed her hugs and making her laugh. I knew I was having a positive experience with one of the bravest and most courageous people I have ever known.

Several times Cindi and I had the opportunity to have Heather all to ourselves while driving back to Brad and Ann in St. Paul. Our 5 hour trip was much better with Heather along. We reflect today on how much we could learn from being with her. Heather is in the loving and everlasting embrace of our Lord Jesus Christ, all the while holding hands with Kirsten. We give thanks to Christ for his gift of Heather and how she taught us what bravery and courage is all about. She is now whole and we have to accept that God wanted her home.