“And while I stood there,
I saw more than I can tell
And I understood more than I saw;
For I was seeing in a sacred manner
The shapes of all things in the spirit,
And the shape of all shapes
As they must live together
Like one being.”
–Black Elk, Wichasha Wakan Oglala Lakota
What is something about you that would surprise most people?
Two years ago on a December evening, I came home from a dinner and there was a frog sitting on my kitchen floor. I was amazed and I realized that it must have been in a succulent plant that I brought into the house before winter. I fed it worms and it lived in the plant in our house until spring, when it could go back outside!
What is one thing you can’t live without?
Nature, all aspects.
Where is your hometown?
New Prague, a small Czech town in Minnesota.
Where is your favorite place you’ve ever visited?
Yellowstone National Park.
What is your favorite book or movie from your childhood?
As a child, I loved to read the Nancy Drew Mystery series.
If you could spend a day with any person, living or deceased, who would it be?
My son Kyle.
Team Member Spotlights
Our mission at Brighton Hospice is to provide the best physical, emotional, and spiritual care for our patients and their families.
Achieving this important mission would be impossible without our Brighton team members. We take pride in hiring the most compassionate and skilled people in the industry who deliver clinical expertise and exceed our patients’ expectations.
Our Team Member Spotlight series is our way of highlighting those dedicated individuals who go above and beyond in their commitment to excellence.
Heidi Simon, Social Worker at Brighton Hospice
Heidi and John in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, Montana
Heidi competing in a team sorting event. She is certified in Equine Assisted Therapy and offers both individual and group therapy experiences.
Tell us about your family, friends, pets, hobbies, and passion projects:
I am married to John and am a grateful Mom to six children: Jessica, 33; Zach, 31, and his fiancée, Alyssa; Mitch, 30; Katie, 29, and her significant other, Chace; and Michael, 26. My youngest son, Kyle (who would be 23), was the most courageous and inspiring person I’ve ever known. He was diagnosed with cancer at age 2 1/2 and lived his life to the fullest until his death, three weeks before his 6th birthday in 2003. He continues to inspire all of us.
We have five grandchildren: Robert (10), John (8), Judy (6), Livi (5), and Thomas (4).
We love to do so many things, but we especially enjoy time with our family and our horses. I became certified in Equine Assisted Therapy and love offering individual and group experiences. We enjoy horse camping, trail rides, as well as riding competitively. We have two quarter horses, Ruby and Peppy; a miniature donkey, Sugar; a miniature pony, Cookie; a dog, Buddy; and two cats, Mama and Lil’ Girl.
When it comes to trying something new, traveling, or finding activities in all seasons, we are in.
“Heidi is a valued and respected member of the Northfield team. She is supportive and always willing to step in and help her patients and fellow team members.”
“She has an amazing gift of sensing!”
“Heidi provides a calm presence, is a ‘go-getter,’ and is willing to give of her own schedule to help out.”
“She helps make tough situations easier!”
“Heidi has a well-honed clinical eye. She quickly assesses strengths in others and guides patients and families to use those strengths. She’s hard working, loyal, and dedicated…and a whole lot of fun!”
– Heidi’s Brighton Team Leaders
What inspired you to pursue a career in hospice care?
My own personal experience created a transformation for me from pain to new purpose. I realized that the support that I received, while needed, was very limited. I felt called to learn more and to elevate hospice care to meet people more diversely. As Maya Angelou said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better.”
How did you first learn about Brighton Hospice?
I was attending a conference and went to a presentation by Brighton Chaplain Carolyn Cochran. I was inspired by her and by her cheering section as her team sat in the front row. I aspired to work for Brighton one day, and two years later, was blessed to have that opportunity.
How long have you been a Brighton Hospice team member?
I have been part of the Brighton team for a year and a half.
What is your proudest moment at Brighton?
During an admission, we learned that our new patient had not been able to visit a family member for almost a year due to COVID-19 facility isolation. Upon learning this, we collaborated with the family and made it a priority to assist them in a visit. We provided an opportunity to visit over video, which unexpectedly became the last time they saw one another.
What are the challenges of working in hospice care that you’ve faced or would like to shed light on?
I think one of the greatest challenges is the misperception about what hospice care is and when it is appropriate to start. Many believe that it is only utilized at the very end of life, in the last week to several days, which can reduce the amount of time that someone can benefit from this specialized care. It has been very rewarding to be able to dispel myths, provide community education, and keep momentum going as we bring light to this critical conversation.
What are your hopes for the hospice care / healthcare industry?
My hopes for hospice care would be that we create an opportunity to enhance end-of-life care by collaborating across all cultures. I hope that by bringing more diverse voices and perspectives to the table, we can expand end-of-life care to be more accessible. I believe that there is a wealth of wisdom to be captured and that the end of life is as precious as birth.
Are you ready to join a team of passionate and compassionate individuals?
Joining Brighton means spending each day surrounded by the most passionate, compassionate, and committed teammates, who are driven by a common mission—to provide patients and their families with the best physical, spiritual, and emotional care possible.