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We are moving forward from Heidi’s death, slowly. Two steps back, half a step forward. We spent the last few days remembering her, watching movies, looking at photos and using a lot of tissues. Last night, J and I drove to a wildflower preserve out in the Columbia Gorge and we said goodbye to Heidi. She always loved nature and hiking and the gorge, and this felt like the right place to talk to her and tell her how much she was missed.

Grief is never easy. Never. We’re getting through it the best we can, and for that I feel very grateful. I also feel ready to return to writing, to the words. Heidi was an avid reader–we shared books and loved many of the same authors. I remember her turning me on to Fall Down On Your Knees so long ago and our conversations about Annie Dillard, Tom Spanbauer and John Irving. The very first time we met, we both realized that one of our favorite books was this obscure novel that we were sure no one else had ever heard of (The Bone People, Kerry Hulme). It was the best of introductions.

The best goodbye I can think of is to return to the writing. To return to creating the kinds of work that brought us together in many ways, and that brought us both so much joy.

Heidi Anderson (obit from The Oregonian):

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ANDERSON, Heidi H. 1970-2008 A celebration of life will be held for Heidi H. Anderson at 4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28, in the Grand Ballroom at the Governor Hotel, 11th and Alder in Portland.

Heidi Hampton Anderson was born Oct. 18, 1970, in Portland to Richard and Barbara Anderson. At the age of 3 years she moved with her family to Dallas, Texas where she grew up. She was educated in the Dallas Independent School District and graduate from Hillcrest High school in 1989. Heidi furthered her education at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., graduating in 1994. Upon graduation she moved to Portland, where she has lived for the past 16 years. She passed away on Feb. 24, 2008, at the age of 37 years from an accidental drowning.

Heidi was always a strong and passionate advocate for children. Her career work was in early childhood education and for the past 11 years served first as teacher, and then director of Joyful Noise Child Development Center. Her passion for helping children touched many lives. She had a long interest in helping the less fortunate and was actively involved in community projects to help disadvantaged children.

In addition to her career passion, Heidi was an avid outdoors person. Hiking, canoeing, skiing, snowshoeing were among her favorite activities. Just as in her professional life, Heidi was fervent about the out of doors and worked hard to preserve the environment. In addition she was an ardent animal enthusiast and active volunteer at the local animal shelter. There was nothing that Heidi did without enthusiasm and gusto.

Heidi is survived by her parents, Richard and Barbara Anderson; sister, Amber Anderson; partner, Megan Klemens; and her beloved dog, Pete. In addition she was loved by her nephew, aunts, uncles, cousins and many, many friends.

We do not want to forget this passionate young woman who devoted so much of her life to improving the Portland community. In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to be made to the Heidi H. Anderson Early Childhood Education Endowment which will provide tuition-free early childhood education for the less fortunate. Checks made out to this Endowment may be sent to Joyful Noise, 333 SW 1st, Suite A, Portland, OR 97204.

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