Hello! My name is Heidi Good Swiacki. I have been married to Steve for 25 years, which has been filled with laughter, trust and love. We have 2 great kids, Ashton 22 and Chris 16. I have ALS, aka Lou Gehrigs Disease. I was officially diagnosed March '05, I was just turning 45. This blog will be about a myriad of topics. I will share my ALS story which will hopefully encourage others. It will show that quality of life comes in many forms. I have to tell you up front that there will be some spiritual references. Don't be afraid or turned off by that. Since I have had ALS I have seen many miracles. Let's be realistic, who can be a happy, non-verbal,ventilated quadriplegic without Faith? I hope you will join me and make this an interesting, educational, inspirational forum. Humor and the ability to enjoy life is required! :)

Heidi passed away 3-25-13 :(

August 4, 2013

Hello, Steve here. To help with the healing process, I am going to continue on with Heidi's blog, primarily talking about our lives and how we as a family are learning to live on with Heidi's memories pushing us forward. Topics covered will be geared towards the affects ALS has on loved ones.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


Okay, I said I was not going to post anything new, but a childhood friend created this a month after we lost Heidi. This was posted on facebook April, 2013 and she re-posted a few days ago. I thought this was such a beautiful tribute to Heidi, I wanted to share.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Losing Loved ones by an Old Guy (old guys rule) Its long, but worth reading

I'm old. What that means is that I've survived (so far) and a lot of people I've known and loved did not. 

I've lost friends, best friends, acquaintances, co-workers, grandparents, mom, relatives, teachers, mentors, students, neighbors, and a host of other folks. I have no children, and I can't imagine the pain it must be to lose a child. But here's my two cents...

I wish I could say you get used to people dying. But I never did. I don't want to. It tears a hole through me whenever somebody I love dies, no matter the circumstances. But I don't want it to "not matter". I don't want it to be something that just passes. My scars are a testament to the love and the relationship that I had for and with that person. And if the scar is deep, so was the love. So be it. 

Scars are a testament to life. Scars are a testament that I can love deeply and live deeply and be cut, or even gouged, and that I can heal and continue to live and continue to love. And the scar tissue is stronger than the original flesh ever was. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are only ugly to people who can't see.

As for grief, you'll find it comes in waves. When the ship is first wrecked, you're drowning, with wreckage all around you. Everything floating around you reminds you of the beauty and the magnificence of the ship that was, and is no more. And all you can do is float. You find some piece of the wreckage and you hang on for a while. Maybe it's some physical thing. Maybe it's a happy memory or a photograph. Maybe it's a person who is also floating. For a while, all you can do is float. Stay alive.

In the beginning, the waves are 100 feet tall and crash over you without mercy. They come 10 seconds apart and don't even give you time to catch your breath. All you can do is hang on and float. After a while, maybe weeks, maybe months, you'll find the waves are still 100 feet tall, but they come further apart. When they come, they still crash all over you and wipe you out. But in between, you can breathe, you can function. You never know what's going to trigger the grief. It might be a song, a picture, a street intersection, the smell of a cup of coffee. It can be just about anything...and the wave comes crashing. But in between waves, there is life.

Somewhere down the line, and it's different for everybody, you find that the waves are only 80 feet tall. Or 50 feet tall. And while they still come, they come further apart. You can see them coming. An anniversary, a birthday, or Christmas, or landing at O'Hare. You can see it coming, for the most part, and prepare yourself. And when it washes over you, you know that somehow you will, again, come out the other side. Soaking wet, sputtering, still hanging on to some tiny piece of the wreckage, but you'll come out.

Take it from an old guy. The waves never stop coming, and somehow you don't really want them to. But you learn that you'll survive them. And other waves will come. And you'll survive them too. 

If you're lucky, you'll have lots of scars from lots of loves. And lots of shipwrecks.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Last post

When you started this post, it was inspirational, you wanted to make a difference, show people why it was important to be positive and smile every day. You never expressed  anger or resentment.

I used your post as a means to express my anger over what had happened to us. It is time to forgive, let go of the anger. Life will take care of itself and will only be better if we smile half as much as you did.

This will be our last post

We love you and will never forget your wisdom, happiness and most of all your smile.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Update to Heidi's passing. 6-9-15

Pair charged in ALS patient's death allegedly blamed victim's husband

Wanda Nelson, left, appeared in court last month with her attorney, Deputy Public Defender Lori Pedego. Nelson is charged with murder in the March 2013 death of Heidi Good, a Solvang woman who suffered from Lou Gehrig's disease.

The Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office alleges that the mother of a woman who suffered from Lou Gehrig's disease conspired, along with one of her three caretakers, to murder her and frame her husband.
Marjorie Good, 89, and Wanda Nelson, 63, are charged with first-degree murder in the death of Heidi Good, of Solvang, who died on March 25, 2013, two days before her 53rd birthday. Her death came eight years after she was diagnosed with the disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS.
In May 2014, the county Sheriff's Department announced that Heidi Good's death was being investigated. 
Marjorie Good — Midge, as she was known to her family — and Nelson, were indicted last month after grand jury proceedings in April in which 33 witnesses testified.
The grand jury proceedings are documented in five volumes of transcripts viewed by the Santa Maria Times at Superior Court in Santa Maria.
"Ms. Good did not wish to die," Deputy District Attorney Cynthia Gresser said in her opening statement to the grand jury. "She was still very comfortable and had a strong will to live."
Gresser said that Marjorie Good was paranoid, and believed that she would be removed from her daughter's will.
Multiple witnesses testified to the grand jury that both Marjorie Good and Nelson claimed repeatedly over the course of several years that they were afraid that Heidi Good's husband, Stephen Swiacki, was going to kill her, and that it was well-known that Marjorie Good did not like her son-in-law.
Another caretaker, Anita Wright, testified that Heidi Good had told her several days before her death that she was going to ask her mother to move out of her house.
"She told me Friday evening, when I arrived Friday evening, that her mother had struck her son and that it was the last straw for her," Wright testified. 
Marjorie Good admitted to Sheriff's detectives that she had been asked to leave the home.
Heidi Good's official cause of death was asphyxiation. The District Attorney's Office claims that a toxic amount of the cough suppressant drug dextromethorphan was introduced into her gastric feeding tube, and her ventilator was disconnected, then reconnected before emergency medical and law enforcement personnel arrived.
Nelson said that she left to go to Rite-Aid to pick up an antibiotic for Heidi Good and returned to find her dead, while Marjorie Good said she was working in the front yard.
Heidi Good's 18-year-old son and two of his friends were in a shack in the backyard of the house.
A technician for CareFusion, the manufacturer of the ventilator that Heidi Good relied on to breathe, told the grand jury that data from the machine showed that it was not providing enough pressure for her to breathe for a 30-minute period just before her death and would have been sounding an 85-decibel alarm.
Sheriff's deputy William Hollon testified that both Nelson and Marjorie Good implicated Swiacki when he interviewed them.
A GPS device on Swiacki's work vehicle showed that he was in Santa Barbara or Goleta from approximately 7 a.m. that day until after his wife's death.
Marjorie Good is represented by Santa Maria attorney David Bixby, while Nelson is represented by Deputy Public Defender Lori Pedego. They face arraignment June 18.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Update on Trial 5/26/15

Heidi, your mom and Wanda both appeared on 5/22/15 before the courts for their arraignment hearing. It has been rescheduled until June 18, 2015.There have been so many misguided comments and opinions of what may have happened that day. It has never been explained to me what happened to you. I still don't understand what motivated your mom to blame me. I want to repeat to all those who may read this, I know for a fact you did not want to die and would not have asked to have your respirator unplugged and or disconnected. 

There are some groups that feel your mother is the victim here, have they all forgotten that she changed the kid's and my life forever when she told the police that I facilitated your death? To this day, we are all still in shock and have not been able to fully grieve for you with so many unanswered questions. 

My reaction to her being arrested was one of surprise. Did she feel the same fear and confusion I felt when the authorities descended on our home physically removing us with just the cloths on our backs. This less than 24 hours after we had lost you. 

I look at this picture and ask myself why?  This is not the same person that moved in with us so many years ago. 

Marjorie Good

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Update on trial

Judge Approves Jail Release of Elderly Woman Charged with Killing Daughter Who Had ALS

Arraignment hearings are continued for two women charged in connection with the 2013 death of 52-year-old Heidi Good Swiacki
<p>A judge agreed to release Marjorie Good, 89, from County Jail, where she was taken into custody after a criminal grand jury indicted her for a first-degree murder charge in the death of her daughter, Heidi Good Swiacki.</p>
A judge agreed to release Marjorie Good, 89, from County Jail, where she was taken into custody after a criminal grand jury indicted her for a first-degree murder charge in the death of her daughter, Heidi Good Swiacki.  (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)
By Janene Scully, Noozhawk North County Editor | @JaneneScully | 
An 89-year-old woman charged with first-degree murder in the 2013 death of her Solvang daughter who had ALS will be released from the Santa Barbara County Jail on her own recognizance while her case makes its way through the criminal-justice system.
During a Tuesday morning hearing, Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Gustavo Lavayen agreed to release the elderly defendant, Marjorie Good, after a request from defense attorney David Bixby, who said his client would stay with a family friend.
Good and Wanda Nelson, who also appeared in court with her attorney Tuesday, were indicted on first-degree murder charges of killing 52-year-old Heidi Good Swiacki, reportedly by tampering with her ventilator. Nelson is believed to have been Swiacki's caregiver. 
At one point in court Tuesday, the hearing had to be paused because the frail Good, who was sitting in a wheelchair, said her hearing aid battery had died. 
Although the judge granted Good’s release from jail, he ordered her to stay away from the Nyborg Estates neighborhood and her son-in-law, Stephen Swiacki, and grandchildren, Ashton and Christopher Swiacki.
Nelson’s attorney, Lori Pedego from the Santa Barbara County Public Defender's Office, noted her client had breast cancer surgery two months ago and asked the judge to ensure the jail maintains her follow-up treatment regimen. 
Nelson was arrested in New York, but appeared in the Santa Maria courtroom on Tuesday morning for the hearing. The arraignment hearing for both women was continued to May 22. 

Wanda Nelson, left, and her attorney, deputy public defender Lori Pedego, appear in court for an arraignment hearing Tuesday morning. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)
A criminal grand jury indicted the two women May 1, according to the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office. Before handing down the indictments, the grand jury heard from 33 witnesses, including 13 law enforcement personnel and Swiacki's husband and two children.
While sheriff’s investigators and prosecutors have provided little information about the case, some details can be gleaned from a blog that was started by Good after she was diagnosed several years ago with ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
— Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at jscully@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk@NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Sunday, May 10, 2015


Since the announcement by the D.A.'s office, there have been so many comments pertaining to ALS and how inhumane California law is regarding one's choice to take there own life given certain medical conditions. It is not that I disagree with this however this has no bearing on Heidi.

Many have talked about it was a mercy killing or Heidi asked that the plug be pulled.

I can assure anyone who is reading this blog, Heidi had no desire to end  her life, she had her bucket list and it was not completed. She was alive, smiling, laughing and could still light up the room with her wit.

So please, don't think Heidi wanted to end  her life. She felt it was in God's hands to take her when ready.

Unfortunately, the police don't believe this was an act of god.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

The next 17,520 hours

Heidi, it has been over 17,520 hours since we lost you. It is hard to comprehend what is believed to have happened but it is now reality.

Two Indicted for Murder of Solvang Resident
updated: May 07, 2015, 4:53 PM 
Source: Office of the District Attorney
Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce E. Dudley announced today that on May 1, 2015 the Grand Jury returned criminal indictments against Marjorie Good and Wanda Nelson for the murder of Heidi Good, on March 25, 2013 in Solvang, California.
Two Santa Barbara County Deputy District Attorneys presented to a Criminal Grand Jury the Sheriff investigation into the homicide. Thirty-three witnesses provided testimony to the Grand Jury. The transcript of this Grand Jury hearing will become public in approximately 20 days, unless the court orders that the transcripts be sealed.
The Grand Jury had a number of choices before it, ranging from declining to indict to filing an indictment with the most severe charge proven to them.
The Grand Jury after receiving testimony from the witnesses, in private and confidential deliberations, chose to indict both Marjorie Good and Wanda Nelson of willful, deliberate and premeditated first degree murder.
Marjorie Good was brought before the Honorable Judge Iwasko today May 7, 2015. Good's arraignment on the indictment was continued to May 12 in Dept. 9, at 8:30 a.m. in Santa Maria. Wanda Nelson has been arrested and is pending extradition from New York State.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

March 25, 2015

 Heidi, it will be 2 years today that you took your last breath. It is so hard to believe that we have been without you this long. I have said this with every blog, it is harder to understand the mystery behind your death. I think back to 2:30 in the afternoon on 2013 when Chris called me crying to tell me you were dead. Our lives changed forever that day and set in motion a series of events that are still going. The investigation into your death. I am still in shock over what transpired that day and  the following day when the police forcibly removed us from our home to preserve evidence.

On the 2 year anniversary of your passing, I had hoped we would be remembering the happier times when we were lucky enough to have you as our rock, but it is tainted by the investigation. It is tainted that the kids want nothing to do with your mother. She was such an important part of  our lives as the kids grew, what happened? It is such a shame, she should be with us today.

To remember you, we are going to your favorite beach today to spread some of your ashes. I think we are going to go to the places you enjoyed most each year.  Next year will be Boston.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

March 17, 2015

As we come up on 2 years Heidi, I look back on our lives together and cannot believe you are gone.

We all are moving forward with our lives, but the mystery of your passing still haunts us. What really happened?

We hope there will be closure soon.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Dreams that feel so real

I have been dreaming about you quite a bit lately, Ashton felt your presence earlier this week when she was home sick. It was as though you came home to comfort your sick little girl, she sat in bed looking at old photos and feeling your warmth and love. She talked to me about the hurt she felt inside that you were gone that she could not feel your touch, see your smile, hear your voice just one more time. Were you with her when she was crying?

It was October 2013 the last time I had dreams of you, back then you were far off, but talked to me and in the end I remember gazing into your eyes and kissing you. It felt so real, I woke in disbelief that you were not there.

These recent dreams you do not talk, but you are walking and simply hug me, I can feel your arms around me.

As the ALS took you from us physically, I came to miss your voice, but what I really missed were the intimate touches, your hand on mine, your wrapping your arm around mine when we walked, your head in my chest, soft strokes across my neck

I wish I could understand how all this feels so real.

It will be 2 yrs in March since we lost you. We are still surrounded with so many questions and no answers. Were you murdered as the police think?

We miss you!