13 years ago I woke from a coma. To tears, bright light, parents in hushed voices, a sterile room. I didn’t know what had happened. I knew it was bad, but I couldn’t name it. The first words I heard were from Scott, “Heidi, do you want to live?” I understood then, I existed between life and death. I said, “Yes.”

If I could hinge my life on one word it would be hope. Hope saved me. From the firefighters who rescued me to learning the word survivor at the burn unit and taking my first precarious steps on prosthetic legs, hope was with me.

When I began speaking in front of audiences, telling my story, people asked, “Will you write a book?” I shook my head, “No, I don’t think so.” Summing up my story in 20 minutes with a positive spin came easily, but to lay out a painful past I had fought hard to overcome seemed irresponsible somehow. By dredging up every surgery, every disappointment wouldn’t I undo everything I had laid to rest?

The short answer is no. I didn’t hurt all the hard work I’d done over the years. But, it was exhausting. I cried a lot. I took breaks and deep breaths. I kept going. I carried a notebook with me everywhere. At that time I could barely contain the words in my head. This story was relentless, determined to get out. I worried about being exposed, everyone will see my insides! I swallowed doubt and continued, hoping this was right.

This week I’m taking stock, poring over my life, thinking about firsts. The first time I rode a 2 wheeler and the first time I crashed it. Being captivated by Charlotte’s Web. Getting a main part in a play. Hearing laughter from an audience. Perfecting the walkover. First dance, first kiss, first heartbreak. Choosing life. Standing on man-made legs. Losing a best friend. Walking down the aisle. A baby girl. Then, a baby boy. Using my voice. The delicious chill that ran along my spine when I fell head over heels for writing. Pitching my story out loud. Getting ‘the call’. The first time I signed my name beside Author.

A week ago I received some of the best news of my life. I’m going to be a published author; my story will be a book!!! There are not enough exclamation points to express how thrilled I am. I am honored and ecstatic to announce that Behler Publications will be the publisher of Fancy Feet! My dream come true.

In almost all firsts hope is born. And courage follows.

Swept up
in Spring! It’s finally, finally here. As proof…
Cherry blossoms in Vancouver

I’m linking up with Yeah Write this week! Come check out the gorgeous writing over there.

97 thoughts on “firsts

  1. Christie

    Love, love, love this post! I am in the midst of writing my first book (nonfiction about the ways progressive religion can transform our cultural and religious landscape). I can only HOPE to get it published one day. Any advice or guidance you can provide would be greatly appreciated. I enjoy your blog posts and I’m sure that your book will be just as entertaining.

    1. heidi

      Hi Christie,
      Thank you so much. Good for you on writing your book!
      As for advice – get feedback from other writers, go to writers conferences if you can – they’re a great way to meet fellow writers, agents and editors (it’s how I met both my agent and editor) and stay true to yourself, your heart. I think I’ll do a post on this stuff/journey sometime soon.
      I wish you all the very best!

  2. Stacey

    Oh my gosh!!! I’m so excited for you!!! Congratulations!! PS – Isn’t that “being exposed” the scariest part of writing? I don’t know if I’ll ever get comfortable with all these people, especially the ones I know in real life, knowing what’s inside my head.

    1. heidi

      I still worry about that – the being exposed…all that vulnerability. I mean, it’s too late now. The book will come out. But, I still struggle with it sometimes. I try not to think about it too much. 🙂
      Thank you so much, Stacey.

  3. Julia

    “In almost all firsts hope is born. And courage follows.” I love this line. And really, all of your lines. Your writing and your spirit are so encouraging and inspire me daily. I am so glad that you will share your beautiful gift and story in a book. Congratulations!

  4. Ado

    Wow! Congrats! You are amazing. What an amazing and inspirational story.
    YAY for YOU!!!! (-:
    That is some BIG, GOOD news, and you deserve it!

    1. heidi

      Ado! Thank you! It all feels so crazy, like this isn’t really happening. But. It is. I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. 🙂

  5. elizabeth traub

    Our first steps always start with Hope. You are a brave girl and many will gain confidence to open their hearts to healing when reading your story. Blessings, Elizabeth

    1. heidi

      Jackie, a movie adaptation?! I can’t even imagine that. If it happened I would just want someone smart – not because I am, but because I hate the idea of a dummy being me, you know? Do you think that’s too much to ask? 😉

  6. Eliza Cross

    I love this phrase, Heidi: “The delicious chill that ran along my spine when I fell head over heels for writing.” Congratulations, and I’m toasting you with a virtual glass of champagne!

  7. Robbie

    CONGRATULATIONS!!! I am thrilled for you and cannot wait to read your book…as long as you promise to keep writing here!

    1. heidi

      Thank you, Robbie! You bet I’ll keep writing here. I can’t imagine not doing that. I just have more to juggle these days, but I’ll be here. 🙂

  8. Angela Shelton

    Congrats! Having been there myself – the book part not the coma part – it is a real joy to go through the whole process. Mind you, it’s a roller coaster of ups and downs but in the end when you hold the finished book in your hands, it’s pretty darn cool. Yay you!

    1. heidi

      I laughed when I read ‘the book part not the coma part’. 🙂
      It really is overwhelming. I’m trying to let all of it sink in and be present. I can’t wait to hold this book in my hands. That must have been an incredible day for you. Yay to you!

  9. IntenseGuy


    Awwww.. heck… I hate standing in lines… but I will for an autographed copy of your book!

    🙂 I like the sound of that… Heidi Cave, Author.

    1. heidi

      I’m honored that you would stand in line for me!
      Thank you so, so much. Your encouragement has meant so much to me.

    1. heidi

      Thanks, Kate. I have the worst signature, so Scott tells me I must work on it. Hopefully, the signature will be author-worthy by the time I get to signing books. (So weird to even say that!)

    1. heidi

      Thank you, Jeff! That means a lot to me.
      Your post had me in tears today. I’m still not quite over it. In a good way. 🙂

    1. heidi

      It was cathartic. I didn’t write it for that reason, but it couldn’t be helped. I cried and cried my way through the first draft. It was quite the journey. 🙂
      Thank you so much, Jennifer!

  10. Katie

    I have tears in my eyes reading this; I am so completely thrilled for you! All of your hard work and willingness to be open and vulnerable have paid off, and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy!

    1. heidi

      KATIE!!! Check out my crazy use of caps!! And exclamation points!!!!
      You haven’t seen vulnerable yet. Well, you have. But, there’s more. I’ll admit, I’m freaking out just a little about all the ‘exposure’.
      Thank you so much, Katie. You’ve been so true and so loyal to me here in this little space. Thank you doesn’t begin to cover it.

  11. Karen

    That is fabulous news Heidi!!! We are so excited for you!!!! We can hardly wait to get ahold of that book and read it!!! Way to press on and not give up!!!

    1. heidi

      Thanks, Karen! I’m taking a deep, deep breath as I read your comment. I didn’t give up and I’m realizing right now…this second…that it’s worth celebrating. 🙂

  12. Anna

    Yay! I am so happy and excited for you, congratulations on your book publishing! And this is such a great post, so inspirational. To see how you choose life, found hope, struggled and now have this beautiful life – amazing and wonderful. Love it and congrats again!

    1. heidi

      Oh my goodness, Anna! Thank you. Coming from you, a fellow survivor, means so much to me. You and your story were such an inspiration to me this week. Thank you again for telling your story.

    1. heidi

      I have a good friend who keeps comparing this book to having a child and, you know, both of you are right. It’s been a lot like that. Difficult and crazy and rewarding. 🙂

  13. Ali

    Wow! Awesome news for you! It’s pertinent to me that you say hope saved you because I am down on his ass at the moment! Your story makes me think I should ease up on him. Maybe one day. Maybe one day I will be where you are. x

    1. heidi

      Ali, I get where you’re coming from. It took me a long time to get to that place – where hope didn’t hurt. Have all the grace in the world for yourself and get through and survive. My heart goes out to you. I know that can sound trite, but I mean it. I really mean it.

  14. Shiftless Mommie

    Congratulations! This is great news!

    “This story was relentless, determined to get out. I worried about being exposed, everyone will see my insides!” This is a perfect description of the fear that accompanies sharing a personal, painful story.

    1. heidi

      Yes! How right you are. I definitely experienced fear embarking on this and there is still fear knowing it will be ‘out there’. It’s what I want and I’ve pursued this to make it happen, but I’m still a little afraid about sharing my insides.
      Thank you for your understanding and well-wishes.

  15. Missy Olive

    I’m so excited for you! Have you ever visited the Debutante Ball blog? you should check it out! You could be a Deb now that you are going to have a book!!!

  16. julie gardner

    HOLY CANOLI, Heidi!!!
    I think you know (I hope you do) how absolutely thrilled I am for you.

    As an aspiring author, I am completely aware of all the hard work (blood, sweat, tears – literally) that goes into such an achievement. Yours, in particular. Oh my.

    This quote sent a chill up my spine (sorry for the cliche, but it’s true):
    In almost all firsts hope is born. And courage follows.

    So congratulations from the bottom of my heart.
    (Also not a cliche. Although it sounds like one!)

    Much love to you ~

    1. heidi

      Julie!! I saw your comment and my heart melted. I meant to get back to you earlier, but my computer died. You can imagine how completely and utterly freaked out I became – I got mean. Very mean.
      Thank you, thank you for your kind and heartfelt words. When I read your blog for the first time I cried. You gave me hope when I desperately needed it. I felt understood, less alone in it all. And I’m so grateful. I hope you know I mean that. 🙂
      I wish you all the very, very best. Writing like yours is meant to be out there for everyone to enjoy. You are an author and you are meant to be published. I know it.

  17. XLMIC

    Congrats on the book deal! That is huge! To be able to share your amazing and compelling story of hope and survival is giving a gift to the rest of the world, too. I’ve found it very moving and inspiring 🙂

    1. heidi

      Thanks, Delilah! I’m working away on revisions now and, hopefully, it will all be ready to go soon.
      With all my heart, thank you.

  18. Toriz

    That’s wonderful; congrats to you! 🙂

    I could never write my story exactly as is; I could do reality based fiction, but I couldn’t put everything down on paper (or computer screen) without having a way to distance myself from it.

    1. heidi

      I know a few people who have done that – to layer their story with fiction. I think it’s a great idea….will you do it? I hope you do. 🙂

  19. Youngman Brown

    Wow, congratulations! That is awesome!

    Also, being a first-timer, the first line of your post was awesome in that attention-grabbing, heart-skipping a beat kind of way.

    1. heidi

      Thank you, Youngman.
      I don’t know if I commented on your previous comment to me from another blog post – you said something about asking your pretty neighbor to marry you. But, I just wanted you to know I absolutely LOVED that comment. And I hope you do get to know that pretty neighbor and maybe, just maybe, ask her to marry you. 😉
      Thank you again for your kind words.

  20. Fran

    Fantastic! I know how hard you have worked and how far you have come on this journey, and the trip’s not over yet! Thanks for sharing with us, always.

  21. Emily

    Wow, I’m really late on finding out about this amazing news! But CONGRATULATIONS to you Heidi. This is amazing. You definitely deserve this and I can’t wait to buy YOUR BOOK! Wow, author. Your children must think you are so cool : ) lol. But in all seriousness, I think it will be pretty amazing for your kids to read one day.

  22. Pingback: stuck | Fancy Feet

Comments are closed.