Although this day was expected to arrive, I quietly still hoped it would never really happen.
It’s tough to convey the feeling one feels of the debt owed when someone so integral to your being and makeup dies.
I vividly recall her last lesson to me. It was the second to last time I was putting up a scene from Neil LaBute’s, “The Shape of Things” and she was raining down a hailstorm of notes on me.
And even though I was eagerly soaking in and scribbling down her notes of wisdom (I don’t think she ever saw anything but the top of my head during notes), she probably recognized she was being particularly tough on me. Because she ended it by saying:
“… because Parry, I know you don’t want to be a good actor —
I know you want to be a great actor.”
The following week I put up that scene for the last time, on the last day of class, fueled with her notes, that comment… and it was honestly, the best work I’ve ever done on a stage to this date. At the end she smiled and out the corner of her mouth gave a, “Good Job”, in that low, wry and playful tone of hers.
And that was the kind of teacher she was. Her vast knowledge could challenge and push you to be your absolute best but she also knew when to nurture and give assurance that she was on your side.
I will always feel somewhat lost at sea without her on this planet. But if there’s one thing I’ll try to carry from her everyday throughout my life and impart to my daughters — it’s that last lesson. To never settle for just being good, but great in anything we do. Because that’s how she lived.
Love you, Heidi. XO