I grew up in a lame ward. Right when I was getting into the Young Women's program, our boundaries changed, leaving me with no one my age and very few youth to speak of, much less anyone I'd hang out with outside of normal church activities.

A year passed and life went on. Sunday was boring, mutual was boring, and our newly formed ward felt frumpy and disjointed.

Then one summer day, just before the Fourth of July, the ward gossip mill went ballistic. A new family was moving in! Not just any family, a family with SIX kids (5 girls and 1 boy) with another on the way! My first memory of the Greenwood Family.

I remember seeing them at the ward Fourth of July party and instantly resenting them. Not only were they a considered a God send - you could not imagine a more perfect group of people. They were beautiful, happy, confident, and glowing, I think they even had matching Fourth of July shirts! Just insane. I remember being so envious, my future life flashing before me as I envisioned every boy I'd ever had a crush on falling for this group of sun kissed beauties with smiles as wide as Texas. I just knew those girls were going to be prissy and insufferable - I was so prepared to hate them. 

And then, they introduced themselves, and I had every single one of my prejudices stuffed down my throat. They were, impossibly, even more perfect than what met the eye. They were nice and funny and interesting and just so lovely you couldn't help but want to be close to them. 

Within the month, I was sure that I would never have friends that I loved as much as I loved the Greenwood girls. Sleepovers, game nights, learning to drive, youth conference, EFY, first crushes, dances, soccer teams, early morning seminary, birthdays, Six Flags, trips to the beach... we literally did everything together, and I loved every minute. I even wrote a paper about their family for one of my English classes! They were the coolest girls from the coolest family and I felt so estatic to be their friend. 

When they moved away years later, I was not the only one devastated. The entire ward felt the hole that they left when they went to Illinois. 

Strangely, after they moved, the ward was no longer lame. In their infectious blaze of energy, they brought us all together to fuse a true ward community.  I was close friends with people who wouldn't of given me the time of day before the Greenwoods brought us together. In their wake, they left an extended family. 

A few days ago, Heidi, the Greenwood's fourth darling, wasn't feeling so well. Spring Break was just a week away, already planned with a flight across the country to visit her best friend for a senior trip. She stayed home from school to rest. 

This is from her facebook page:
Her family checked on her that morning and made sure that she was alright. She was found later that morning having collapsed downstairs. Her heroic mother valiantly called 911, notified neighbors, contacted a husband in a airplane cockpit, alerted family, and brought her child back thru CPR. 

The ambulance crew sustained Heidi and a valiant ER team worked tirelessly. No one could imagine this beautiful, healthy, young woman in this level of distress. Heidi was stabilized and placed in ICU where she has been unconscious and sustained by good doctors, powerful medications and relentless machines. There have been countless blood tests, CT scans, infusions, procedures, tubes and monitors trying to find the bottom line and resolve it. 

Siblings and spouses dropped everything and flew in to be by her side. Family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, nurses and strangers have all been overwhelmed by the sweet spirit that has settled on this small corner of the hospital. There have been moments of laughter and distress, hope and heartbreak. More tears than can ever be counted. The vigil has now lasted 36 hours. The hospital has just accepted the crowd and learned that family is a term not defined by bloodlines. 

Heidi's room is sacred ground. The Spirit of The Lord is almost tangible there. Her senior pictures are on every wall to remind of who she really is beyond the machines and monitors. Heidi is peaceful and angelic looking as she rests and waits. She is in between heaven and earth and we feel angels everywhere. 
This, and everything else, is in the Lord's hands and He will do what is best and most merciful for all of his children. Heidi was His before she was ours and we are grateful for whatever time He has lent her to us. 
Please pray that our Heidi will return to full health. But if not, pray that the Lord's timing and mercy will be bountiful. Pray for the Greenwood family, for the doctors and for all of us as we are reminded that life is fragile and that every moment is to be cherished.

Earlier this morning, Heidi passed away from a blood clot that lodged in her lung. 

Utter heartbreak. I mourn for my friends. I wonder how they can deal with this loss? How do you say goodbye to your little sister? Are they hateful? Are they angry? Lisa posted this picture with the following caption:

We're all praying for Heidi. We are hoping for a miracle, but if she doesn't make it, we have faith we'll be together again someday.

My heart is throbbing for you my sweet beautiful Greenwoods. Please know that your family, from San Antonio, Little Rock, Illinois, California... everyone and every place you've touched, is now reaching to embrace you in their love and support. Your names are on our lips as we pray, we cherish the memories in our hearts, and if you stumble along the way, thousands of hands will swoop in to help you stand once more. Thank you for your faith and your continued example to us all. 

We love you, I love you. 

And Miss Heidi, do your work little angel. 

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