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Heidi and Diana

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Monumental Heidi Meghan O’Sullivan

If I’d ever had to chose a sister, I would have fought for you, my American friend, the lady with the depth of a German philosopher, the wit of French Cartoonist Sempé, the energy of Tina Turner, full of optimism and wisdom, with the gold knowledge and the heart of gold. You had it all, the grace of a lady, the coolness of a buddy and the Astrology Book.


We met in the year 2005. It must have been end of November and Boston was hit by a blizzard. I never experienced a blizzard before and looking out of my window I realized, that it must have had snowned over night quite a lot. I still remember the joy I felt trying to open the rusty window wanting to touch the snow from my apartment overlooking the harbor from India St. right behind the Custom House Tower in McKinley square.

I was a little startled by the fact, that the street felt empty and I did not see people walking to work. But I could observe a snow cat pushing a huge pile of snow along State Street and it was only an hour later, that I understood, all this was unusual. Unusual was also, that I found out, the snowplow was pushing the snow to a gigantic snow melting machine. „They do really have snow melting machines ( America...), I heard my brain concluding feeling a little wiser.


I took a shower, got dressed and off I went to grab a coffee at that French named coffee shop I can’t recall ---was it ‚Madame’ something or ‚Bonjour’ Deli. I remember it had a yellow logo and great coffee and these caramel gigantic cookies, but not that day , as it was closed. I arrived at work 53 Exchange Place and wanted to enter the building. "What are you looking for?“ I was asked by a gentle tall American. I answered, I am on my way to work, thank you. I doubt it, said the tall man. I looked at him while my body turned into the shape of a humongous question mark. But, I have to go to work, I work here, I heard myself saying. He laughed and said, all offices are closed, please go home and take good care of yourself. We had a blizzard and the only thing I could think of was: "wow, I have a day off, just because of this little bit of snow!“ This is a great day, I guess I call this girl up, Felix, my colleague at Boston Consulting Group in Munich recommended to me. I still hear him saying: "You should get connected, I will ask Alex (his wife) to give me her number, I am sure you make a great fit“! And he should be so sensationally right!... awesome Felix.

And so I did, I called her on my way up to State House, strolling in direction Boston Common, just passed the library Boston Athenaeum, when I reached her. "Hi Heidi, here’s Diana, colleague of Felix, who’s wife Alex, you spent time in Germany with.“ A super energized and sunshine-vibing welcome came my way "Hi, Dianaaaa, welcome to your new home“ she said...and with it warmth, and the notion of fun, flooded my senses.


We arranged for a coffee at Starbucks, corner Charles and Beacon Street a little later. The only coffee shop open that day in Boston.



I learned about your coffee love the minute we’ve met, you showed me around places, told me all there is to know and more – about Boston, about my own people, the Goethe Institute, their lectures, Doris Dorrie, who you loved, ...about the world. You not only knew the hard facts, you always knew the ‚real great stuff’ all the fun facts and stories behind the scene... You converted Fahrenheit into Celsius, miles into km for me. You asked me about German vocabulary like only you could do. You understood the humor of wordplays, in German. I called you ‚library on two legs’ for a reason. I still recall when I was hunting some fashion pieces at Filene’s, Anthropology or Urban Outfitters, when you suddenly stopped in front of a dazzling funny book of Charlie Brown. You read books, loved to read them laying on the floor on some carpet, but you didn’t never hold on to them.


Only later our favorite place got a little spooky, when we heard about the story of Sandra Bross, a McKinsey partner who was married to imposter Clark Rockefeller, a penniless German who lived with her for 14 years under false identity and had killed people prior to meeting her in that same Starbucks on a regular basis.


Huhhhh we said, good they had great coffee at least, and went on to open the next chapters in our lives, loaded with optimism we focused rather on stories like this one: Linus’ pumpkin spice latte


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As you were athletic, we always took yoga classes at your gym in Boston and New York. You introduced me to your teacher - the former ballerina and the beauty from Florida. We went to see theater pieces on Broadway. strolled down highline in New York. Had chocolate fountains at Serendipity. We’ve met artists in Central Park, and I still recall how much I was impressed, When you could have told men we met (some very good looking) , that you are a screenplay writer -- former Lawyer -- a  travel writer -- a Harvard Alumna, just to name the stuff usually people mention, when asked who they are – you never did.  Because you were outstandingly unique. We went to readings and mucked around about Emily Dickinson's habits. You directed AshBash, ran the NY Marathon, you came see me in Munich, we rented a Rickshaw and drove around town for the sake of it to enjoy the mild summer evening.


We were such a fun team, you simply triggered all my spirits and all my happy sides. When I had the idea of buying fire wood for your fire place, you came up with the idea of roasting Marshmallows. And so we had a cosy fire at your fire place and roasted marshmallows in your apartment. We had tanks of coffee at your place in Beacon Street, toasted poppy seed bread, grapefruit juice in cocktail glasses, had yummi Thai take outs. And I fell asleep on my favorite colored turquoise bed linen, after we had binge watched the affair from dusk til dawn. We turned the days upside down, had breakfast on the roof top. You traveled the world with your sisters, Kevin and Rocio.

It is not important, if my memories fall out of chronology, because with you time became relative anyway. We celebrated both our 40th birthday together. Do you remember the story of my passport? I still remember flying out from Perugia to Milan to take the plane to Boston, when I’ve been told, my second passport was not valid to travel to the US, I needed a visa – I ended up crying in front of a Lufthansa groundcrew member, begging her for a rebooking of my non refundable ticket. And finally she rebooked my ticket fort he next morning. This gave me just enough time to rent a car, drive all way back down to Perugia, to take the other passport, back in the car, ride back to Milan; I couldn’t miss to surprise you for your birthday. I remember we were all dressed like angels and devils at Susan's and Marks, who barbecued his delicious meat spits outside in the garage.


With you we were sent back to the roaring twenties at Central Station and dancing away Salsa, having cocktails at some very famous roof top bar. It was with you we celebrated new years eve in Istanbul. Do you remember, when we laid the dollar note on the door step, it was gone a couple of minutes later. We couldn’t stop laughing. We went to the hammam and got a true rub; one that was so crucial-- that wellness got a total new dimension. I still have my dollar note in the freezer and I added two more, just in case...


You made me meet your wonderful friends and family, your unprecedented mother June, your wonderful sisters Erin and Jennifer, and told me about your brother, his wife the opera singer, their lovely kids. We drove in your convertible to get cabbage and other ingredients to smooth our mornings with delights, we biked and hiked, you went to Harvard reunions.


We continued to share our favorite colors: green and blue. Not just any green or blue, no, the colors of the sea. Heidi, did you know the German saying: "Grün und Blau trägt den Kasper seine Frau“? Green and blue wears the clowns wife“. Sure you did. It cracked me up, as if Germans were known for "blue“ like optimism and green like hope and had any clue about fashion. It’s like asking Italians to structure a spreadsheet. You don’t do that, right? You would ask them for food and wine or fashion, ...


Loosing your dad was quite tough on you. But as always and as ladies do, you stayed positive and found solace in humor. And then the ‚boing’ worried you, that the doctor didn’t see the year before and sent you back home. I still remember, when we sat on the meadow oft he English Garden in Munich, I had just picked you up from the airport, we had coffee and you told me, what the doctor told you ‚yesterday’. You flew anyway. Yesterday, I thought, yesterday. Strong and all collected on the outside, it put your life upside down once again. It changed your life and you took of for a very special new endeavor: you invited the boing to travel from chocolate to cale. You researched alternative healing methods, spent more time in Florida and started working for James. What was like a present for me as we now met every year in Baden-Baden. Do you remember our home made humus?


It goes without saying simply outstanding and the consequences were outstanding as well..., we danced, played at the Casino, ate French chocolate cake. I still crave your spicy sunflower seeds you always ‚schlepped’ with your camera from the US to Germany.


Nostalgia and melancholy seizes me. I had to laugh out loud, just thinking of what we all experienced there, the scrub at the sauna, when I told the wellness lady, I was not a car, she should use a softer brush, if she wouldn’t intend to scalp me. The ‚extra’ step at the Indian Restaurant, that introduced us falling into the Indian restaurant instead of walking.


Then your wish grew to write about all the research you’ve done. I was planning to become part of a Working Out Loud Group with Markus and off we went together. You drove your projects with the one and only Heidi execution power and determination, and with it my resolution. You understood how much it meant to me, to get that Tango danced. And it was your helping hand, that made it come true for me. Faith had it happen again, that we both went to Christy's Tango Festival in Louisville together. We wrapped the tango weekend in a trip around Kentucky and to Florida prior and after dancing. Something dazzled me, when seeing you. I decided, I had to do something, as the 'boing’ became a Boeing and we had to land that babe on the ground.


You went to Switzerland, you went to Germany. I do not know Heidi how you managed to do this all by yourself, but now we could see each other and again we had a blast. I still hear your question: "Diana, can we go have some Gulaschsuppe?"  You loved Gulaschsuppe. And we had it all, we ate Currywurst and Gulaschsuppe, and Cake as much stuff we could find, we had it all, stuffed kale, we also needed coffee and cake. We drove to romantic places, joked around. Sitting in the garden of the clinic with the view to the mountains for the first time I feared the invisible.


I did not tell you Heidi and god I hope you couldn’t feel it. It was not the cancer itself, it was the questions you asked me. You asked me, if I think you would be forgotten. I tried to handle the answer as much analytic as I could, just to give you comfort as I knew you didn’t like it too fondly. My heart went on emergency mode, my brain decided to put some ironic basic research on the table and into our conversation to amuse you, as this was the way to cheer you up. We laughed. And you said, that this was a very beautiful place, scanning the mountains, the meadows surrounding us, the panorama of the Alps. It was a beautiful mild day.

Heidi today I tell you once again, what I told you then. Truth is, there is not one day I am not thinking of you, stumbling upon your kindness and impact on my life, how could anyone of us ever forget you. Your spirit crossed our path and it is carved in our hearts and souls.


I guess God has promoted you to his most important angel in the meanwhile.

Happy happy first angel birthday dear friend. Your spirit we’ll always be vibing on earth.




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