My wife, Julie Marie Martin, died Nov. 24 from illnesses that accompany cystic fibrosis. The disease made her a tiny, 4’10” warrior, and among the oldest CF patients in the country. She fiercely refused to let CF define her and lived a full, wonderful life. She would have been 55 years old on her birthday this Dec. 27.
Julie lit up any room she walked into and her smile was infectious. She insisted on lemon with tea, was a voracious reader, dressed with elegance and liked to garden but not to weed. She wanted cleanliness but embraced clutter. Our 12-year-old granddaughter Alia once asked her what her “motto” in life was and Julie said: “Bloom where you are planted.” Alia and her mother, Islenny, came to us late and serendipitously. They became and remain our extended family.
Julie had a complex family life that included four adopted siblings. She loved her dad, Al Heeter, and his wife, Sandi. She graduated from the University of Washington and some years later found her calling working with seniors. She was a successful state-level lobbyist advocating for nonprofit nursing homes, then became a certified Nursing Home Administrator. She volunteered at the Lynden Senior Center.
Julie’s parents moved to Green Valley, Arizona, last year and she made frequent trips to see them. It became a second home, and her visits opened up a new chapter in her life. She spent last Thanksgiving there with her parents barbecuing turkey under warm sunny skies. Some of her ashes will be buried with them.
When weather and COVID permit — April? — I will find a place to scatter ashes here in this wonderful place we call home. If you want to join me, just send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll make sure you are invited.
One other thing: Julie loved flowers and I know would have appreciated them. But I also know she would prefer you made a donation to Project Hope instead. — Mike Martin