Heike’s battle to live on despite suffering multiple tumours, came to an end at The Christie on the 21st August 2017. The telephone call she was waiting for at the end of July 2017, wasn’t good news. The cancer had spread to her brain. This explained the fits she had been experiencing over the last month and the deterioration in her general well-being and health.
She never gave up hope of recovery until she finally lost the ability to speak and communicate fully with those around her. She was strong and brave to the end.
We had a beautiful funeral service attended by many friends and family at a favourite venue of hers and a stunning woodland burial which she planned herself, at a site on the edge of her hometown in Cheshire.
I’d like to share with you the words of her daughter Nadia who spoke at her funeral, and then my own eulogy to my special friend.
Mum’s Story by Nadia
I am Heike’s daughter, Nadia.
No matter how you knew mum, if you were a close friend, a college, a neighbour or even a friend of a friend, mum appreciated each one of you.
To me, mum was the best mum I could have asked for. Her continuous love and warmth were forever present whilst growing up.
Mum has taught me many things that only a mother could teach her daughter. The impracticalities of the ‘time of the month’, how to cook, how to clean, the importance of using eco-friendly products around the home, how to make tea’s and coffee, and other practical things. Yet it’s the things she didn’t teach me, but the things I observed and watched mum do every day that I will take away from the most. Such as having gratitude for everything you have in your life, no matter how small. To always see the positive side, to find that inner strength and faith even on the darkest of days, speak kindly, have a warm heart, yet, as my brothers will know, be crafty and sneaky when its someone’s birthday followed by a cheeky smile.
But also, how to win friends. Mum had a lot friends. Maybe it was in warm-hearted welcome she gave as they come in, or having coffee and cakes ready on standby. Maybe it was in the way she had interest in some else’s life, to share genuine excitement and energy for their achievements. But always, always thinking of others before herself whilst pouring all her love and energy into family and friends.
Mum had touched the lives of many, especially mine. During the past 5 years, I have had the privilege to see mum flourish into her own beautiful butterfly, to see mum step outside her comfort zone and achieve what she thought she could not do has inspired me to do the same in my life. I know Christies Choir meant so much to her for many different reasons, but the courage and determination she found within herself to commit to this group, travel over 40 minutes into Manchester (which is a lot of contemplating time) to be surrounded by unfamiliar people, but to then vocalise a vulnerable voice that has rarely been heard in such unfamiliar territory, with only faith and trust that everything will be ok. To me, this is bravery in its true form and utterly inspiring. and this is my mum. I am so proud of her, for she is my true inspiration.
So, thank you again for sharing her story with her family, celebrating one of the most beautiful people to have walked on this earth.
Final Words By Helen
I really am lost for words. There aren’t words to describe how I am feeling today, or what my friendship with Heike meant to me. She was simply the kindest, sweetest, bravest woman I have ever met, and a true friend to all of us here. We were best of friends for the last 17 years. We did everything together. Together, and with our children. Our families were part of each other’s’ lives and we shared many special times together. Six Christmases, Birthdays and New Year Celebrations…… And, she was simply the best possible Fairy Godmother to my daughter Eve.
So, I have lost a sister, the dearest of friends, my confidante and my coffee mate. I have her picture on my phone, so I will still see her beautiful smile every day, but the void she leaves feels endless. She still feels very close as always, not gone, just somewhere else.
Heike saw her cancer as a gift, enabling her to discover her true self and to live fully and authentically in every moment she had. She was genuinely so happy in the last 5 years of her life, and especially proud of her three children who meant everything to her. Her mantra was… “Just Today”. She took one day at a time. So, “Just Today” she would try to be positive, brave, and to make a difference to the lives of others, helping unconditionally wherever she could. This, and her wonderful children, are her resounding legacy. If we all lived our lives the way Heike tried to live hers, then the world would be a kinder place. I will certainly try to follow her lead.
I am humbled to have known her, and to have had her in my life for as long as I did, and so, so proud to have called her my dearest friend.