Professor J's Place

07 August, 2008

Heidi and Eoin

Heidi and her granddog

Heidi is the kind of woman who makes you love women. We met when we were both undergraduate English majors in the 1990's--we were both "returning students." Heidi is one of those people who collect strays. All the strange little people in the English and Political Science departments buzzed around her like flies on a hot day. It was a little off-putting,to tell the truth.

Heidi was one of the three smartest students in the department. We were all returning students--all odd ducks. And we weren't friends. Finally, one spring semester we were all in the same class. Fiction. Heidi and I were assigned to do a presentation and lead the class discussion on The Damnation of Theron Ware. Our professor later admitted that she thought we would both hate the novel and the process of working together. It was quite the opposite.

We met one Saturday morning at 8:00 am at the IHop near the campus. We both loved the novel! We sat and talked until 2:00 about the novel, about life, about literature. Heidi and I fell in love that day. While she still loved men and I still loved women, we were bonded that day as friends and comadres.

Heidi and her sons (the strapping lads)

The next year Heidi was doing a paper on the Wye River accord, and she met a nice Irish man on a discussion board (remember those?). Within months they were talking of love. Eoin visited her in the winter of 1998-99, and the two of them went off for a whirlwind tour of Mexico and central America. There they fell madly in love.

I loved that big hairy man from the moment I met him--even though I could rarely understand him when he spoke. He has a Limerick accent, which is hard on my poor ears.
Eoin blowing an Irish flute

Anyway, Heidi and Eoin eventually married, and I was the maid of honor (hardly a maid but truly honored). And Heidi moved to Derry to live with Eoin.

The past three years Eoin has been very sick. He has heart failure and something else the doctors could never put their fingers on. A few months ago they put their fingers on Eoin's liver and decided that he has liver cancer. They still don't know where the cancer originated, but they don't think it was there.

Monday morning I received a phone call from Heidi. Eoin is dying. He's confused, the cancer has metastasized to his brain, and his heart is doing badly. Of course the doctors don't want to say, but when she asked if two or three weeks was a reasonable time frame, they said yes.

Here's the odd thing: Monday evening, I received my passport. I had only applied for it ten days before, so I wasn't expecting it for months.

And I have a week off coming up.

So, I'm going to Ireland on the 19th.

The funny thing is that I applied for the passport so I could visit Ireland next year with Susan.

So, it isn't the vacation I had hoped for, but I am SO GRATEFUL I will get to see Heidi and maybe even Eoin.

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Blogger Lisa Milton said...

So sorry your friend is sick. Godspeed on your trip abroad.

August 7, 2008 at 10:12 PM  
Blogger Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

Puts Everything into Perspective.

Sending you off with a hug and prayers for Heidi and Eoin.

August 7, 2008 at 11:05 PM  
Blogger Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

This will mean so much to them. Best of wishes to all of you.

August 7, 2008 at 11:25 PM  
Blogger Mike Golch said...

Sorry that you frien is in such a bad state. Hugs and prayers for your friends.

August 7, 2008 at 11:27 PM  
Blogger Ginaagain said...

This is very sad. What a blessing that you are able to go on such short notice to be with them.

August 8, 2008 at 12:27 PM  
Blogger Scout said...

How very sad. But Professor J, you have a way of writing personal tributes to people that are so warm-hearted and delightful. You make me love your friends.

August 8, 2008 at 12:48 PM  
Anonymous thematically fickle said...

I'm sending my thoughts all the way to you and then to Heidi and then to Eoin. Serendipity is never overrated.

August 8, 2008 at 3:25 PM  
Blogger Pearl C. Pritchard said...

Best to you. I know this will mean the world to Heidi and Eoin.

August 9, 2008 at 1:08 AM  
Blogger TeacherDee said...

What a gift that you get to go so soon. Best wishes for your trip

August 9, 2008 at 4:13 PM  
Blogger The Other Laura said...

Traveling Mercies to you. And I'll light a candle for your friends (and for you too).

August 10, 2008 at 2:21 PM  
Anonymous apathy lounge said...

Man! I hate stuff like this! All the good folks seem to be falling by the wayside and evil is still alive and well. Peace to your friends and to you. Safe journey.

August 10, 2008 at 9:43 PM  
Blogger JCK said...

Oh, this is difficult. Especially after you shared the story of their meeting with us. Having your passport come so quickly is a synchronicity you can't ignore. So glad you are going. Sending good thoughts and safe speed to you on your way!

August 11, 2008 at 12:59 AM  
Blogger K. said...

You, Heidi and Eoin will all be in my heart.

August 11, 2008 at 6:09 AM  
Blogger Claire B. said...

Oh, Prof J., I'm so sorry. I agree with Scout: you make us love your friends--and what a good friend you are for that.

I cannot believe your passport came so quickly, and just in time. Travel safely and surround your friend with the love she will need.

August 11, 2008 at 2:10 PM  
Blogger Mrs. T said...

Safe journey to you ~ hope you get to see Eoin. I know Heidi will find comfort in your being there.

August 11, 2008 at 11:10 PM  
Blogger MamaBird said...

Oh, I am so sorry for you and your friends' loss - it's so meaningful that you're going to go over there to be there with them. Safe travels and peace to you and your friends.

August 12, 2008 at 8:34 AM  
Blogger Sojourner said...

What they all said! I don't feel I can add anything to the lovely comments that everyone made.

Peace to you and Heidi and Eoin. The hospice nurse in me is going with you in spirit.

August 14, 2008 at 9:17 AM  
Blogger phd in yogurtry said...

You are a true friend -- Heidi and Eoin will both be so touched. Healthy vibes heading Eoin's way.

How is Eoin pronounced, btw? "Ian?"

August 17, 2008 at 11:44 PM  
Blogger phd in yogurtry said...

You are a true friend -- Heidi and Eoin will both be so touched. Healthy vibes heading Eoin's way.

How is Eoin pronounced, btw? "Ian?"

August 17, 2008 at 11:44 PM  
Blogger Nora Bee said...

How nice that you will get to go be with your friends. That is a wonderful, wonderful gift.

August 18, 2008 at 11:53 PM  

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