Heidi Low moved 2,500 miles to live on a remote island. Why? Because after losing just about everything, then rebuilding her life into what she thought she’d always wanted, she recognized her soul was calling her to something different.
She is the founder of ‘Ohana Oasis, a Kaua’i based non-profit dedicated to empowering bereaved parents to live a life of joy and purpose. Born from dedicating years to growing through her own grief and life’s challenges, Heidi works with parents around the nation through a variety of virtual and facilitated resources.
Through her writing and speaking, Heidi empowers others to create freedom and happiness, perceiving loss and trials as opportunities for positive change. She keeps it real, sharing relatable stories, often at her own expense.
She understands the value in offering not only overarching ideas and motivation but concrete tips and tools for her audience to use immediately, so always have a pen and paper ready!
When not at her computer writing or standing in front of a crowd speaking, you will most likely find Heidi on the water in an outrigger canoe, at a table surrounded with friends and good food, or on the beach with a good book and sand between her toes.
Before moving to Kaua’i to build ‘Ohana Oasis, Heidi worked in public affairs advising on health care policy in a variety of positions. She also sat on several boards including the Boise State University Alumni Association Board of Directors, Tobacco Free Idaho Association, Coalition for a Healthy Idaho, and the advisory board of the American Lung Association.
I’m Heidi and my daughter, Alison Belle, died of a brain tumor. Over the last 15 years I’ve journeyed from excruciating loss to a life full of hope, fun, and purpose working with other parents to find the same.
I want to share with you my own story. I lost my daughter at the age of five.
I absolutely adored being Alison’s mom. I really do believe she was given a gift of magnetism, because her short life touched so many. Having said that, she wasn’t a saint—just a normal kid. Still, I’m so amazed I got to be her Mommy and share in those five wonderful years.
In the midst of losing Alison, I also lost just about every external marker of my identity including, my husband (Alison’s father), my three step-children, my best friend, and to a great extent what had been my network of support. I went from being a stay at home mom to four children, one of which was critically ill, to being single, working full-time as well as being a full-time student without any children to care for.
One day, while on vacation in Kaua’i I woke up eager to “go play.” I was excited to take a bike ride and maybe even do a little snorkeling. I reminded myself I was on vacation and therefore had permission to do nothing—but even after that reminder I had the energy and eagerness to explore. It wasn’t until the end of the day that I realized I hadn’t had this type of energy in eight years.
Over the course of those eight years since my daughter’s death, I had wonderful people and resources help me navigate my way back to a purposeful and joy-filled life. And then, in a moment that I firmly believe came from something beyond myself, I got the vision of a place where parents such as myself are given the tools, space, and most importantly the safety and permission to go to the depths of grief—while also exploring the heights of the amazing things life can still hold; the joy that can still arrive, where we begin to explore our purpose(s) in life.
I created a non-profit, ‘Ohana Oasis, which was born from this vision.
The work I do in providing weeklong retreats on Kaua’i for bereaved parents makes my heart sing. Creating the format of this retreat came from reflecting on my own healing process: what I did, what worked for me, what didn’t work. I feel so overwhelmingly blessed to be a part of something that can bring healing and joy to parents.
Using all the tools and experiences I’ve discovered, I write and speak to all sorts of loss, grief, and how they can be a catalyst for positive change in peoples’ lives. My mission is to empower others to live a life of freedom and happiness regardless of their history.
I am so glad Alison chose me as her mommy. And even fifteen years after her death I can see an ever-growing impact that her life continues to have on others.