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In Memoriam Heather Ann Whetzel- Bissegger 3/1/79 ~ 1/26/09 Today is Heather's birthday, her third in heaven after passing from ALS at the ridiculous age of twenty-nine. We try imagining a thirty-second birthday in heaven, but it's probably not too different from any other day. It's heaven - if they could do anything special to improve your birthday, they'd do it every day. We hope Heather will read this. It's encouraging that it appears not only in The Tribune, but also in The Deseret News, since we know the latter to be the paper of record in heaven, and the only paper God reads. Maybe He'll rustle His copy toward Heather and say, in His booming but kindly voice, "There's a thing in here about you." If it's any sort of heaven at all, Heather has slept late. Maybe the spirits of the righteous dead don't need sleep. But it's hard to conceive of a heaven that would be one to her where sleeping till 10:30 isn't only permitted, but applauded. No amount of gold construction and lilting of harps could substitute for this. After she's fully awake and has stretched and fluttered her wings, we imagine a big breakfast. Pancakes on most mornings, we think. Of course Heather is a spirit, and so can eat only spirit pancakes. Yet because she occupies the same physical dimension as the spirit pancakes, we assume her spirit body takes them with the same joy that her physical body took regular pancakes, densities of matter being equivalent and so forth. There must also be a spirit pig gliding about. He floats down and offers his side as a renewable source of perfectly crisp bacon for diners to peel off. This is not painful to the pig, and in fact is a delight to him. It's his heaven, too, remember. You can also remove sausage patties from certain spots on his anatomy, but Heather always preferred bacon. Heather pats his head thankfully, and he oinks a happy oink before flying away. Next must come volleyball. In mortality, Heather was a college player and then a coach, and she achieved a level of mastery of the game. But she couldn't have imagined the advantages of wings on the volleyball court. Heather's only challenge is to avoid profanity, which was always a weakness during intense competition. She still slips up occasionally, provoking glares and threats from angel referees. Heather's only two years into this, though, and she's making progress. Finally, in the evenings, Heather returns to her penthouse to a DVR loaded with her favorite reality shows, including The Bachelor, Project Runway, American Idol, and The Hills. Sometimes these are heavily edited for compliance with celestial broadcast standards. But the real annoyance to Heather is that, as a heavenly being, she already knows the final outcomes of these and all TV shows. Suspense is delicious to her, and she hates knowing in advance what happens. Slowly she's adapting. She's beginning to find pleasure in watching the dramas play out for their own sake, despite the liability of knowing the end results. Knowing Heather, part of any day is devoted to lobbying Our Lord to revise certain long-settled divine policies. She'd like to see dining out on Sundays no longer discouraged, for instance. Her sweetness and charm are irresistible. They may yet prevail even on Almighty God to reconsider some of these side issues. But as for first order heavenly principles - kindness, love, tolerance, forgiveness, charity - Heather has no need to press for reforms. In life, she was in near perfect alignment with heaven on these. And so she must feel very at home there.

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Published in The Salt Lake Tribune on Mar. 1, 2011.
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22 entries
June 3, 2017
Thank you. I hope to meet her.
-Stephanie Kramer
May 21, 2017
Heather you were obviously a great person. Play ball and fish. You earned a place in gods house.
Peter Westre
May 21, 2015
Man, this made my day.
Nate Marks
May 11, 2015
She sounds like she'd have been a great friend in this life, any life. Its truly sad to hear of people who were taken much too soon, but it sounds like she did more than just live when she was alive, that she fully lived her life. That's not something that everyone can say.
Nickie L
March 4, 2011
Thank you for allowing us to share your tribute to a truely exceptional person who is missed dearly by all who knew her.
I'm looking forward to meeting her one day, so she can show me around the place.
March 3, 2011
I read the obituaries everyday, it brings sense of reality to life for me, to remember how fragile life is, and to say a prayer in my heart for each grieving family. Your tribute made me laugh and made me cry- I too believe that Heaven will be a perfect fit for those who make it there- God Bless You
March 3, 2011
I love Heather and I didn't even have the pleasure of knowing her here on earth. I hope to one day get the chance to play volley ball with her. Sounds like she will kick my butt though. That's ok because I need the exercise!! Heather sounds wonderful and I look forward to meeting her one day. Well, that's if I make it to Heaven.
Tracy D
March 3, 2011
I taught for several years with Heather, and she was an amazing example and inspiration to all of our students, especially her volleyball players! I watched her struggle several years with that debilitating, deteriorating disease, and she never gave up her sweet, positive outlook. What a courageous woman she was! I still feel very connected to her because she passed into Heaven to begin her new life on my own birthday. She was a special friend, and we all miss her!
March 2, 2011
Thank you!
March 2, 2011
Some one sent me this obit. I would like to read parts of it on the Radio From Hell show. Heather must have been terrific. She was obviously loved by all of you so much.

Bill Allred X-96
March 2, 2011
My son David, (who was also born in 1979) was killed by lighening in '06. It was wonderful to read this and know that there are "class" mates for him to be with. (He loved cheering others on-so I'm sure he watches her play volleyball.) Thanks for sharing this.
March 1, 2011
I like this tribute. Hopefully my family that has this weighing on their hearts so soon after two deaths will have strength enough to go on purposefully and briskly.
Hayley Shaver
March 1, 2011
I did not know Heather but this is a tremendous and joyous tribute to her life here and in Heaven. You are blessed to have known her.
March 1, 2011
So cute! Thanks for sharing. : )
Gracie's Mom
March 1, 2011
We love you Heather! Mark, Kristen, Austin, Markus, Gracie, and Jaden
March 1, 2011
Way cool. We'll all miss you and folks of your ilk, Heather.
March 1, 2011
I've never laughed at an obituary before, but I did today. Thank you.

I'm very sad that you don't have Heather here with you, and will be thinking of any who love Heather today.
March 1, 2011
Truly an amazingly honorable tribute. A well-written celebration of her life, centered on that which brought her happiness.
Russ Morgan
March 1, 2011
What a wonderful description of Heaven! I'm sorry for your loss but so appreciative of your writing. Heather will be delighted!
March 1, 2011
Love and miss you, Heather!
March 1, 2011
Beautiful, simply beautiful...
March 1, 2011
An awesome and eloquent tribute to what sounds like an equally awesome person.
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