With my mother in the European Alps
This will be the hardest eulogy I’ve ever had to write: that of my mother, Lisa Berta Hechtel.
My mother lived a great life, a full one, and enjoyed a long life, but she still left us too soon. I cry, as I write this, and wish I had spent more time with my parents while I still had the opportunity.
Lisa Hechtel as a young woman
I knew Lisa Hechtel only as my mother, and we take our parents for granted — until we no longer have them. Since her passing, countless people have written to me to share how much they loved my mother, and how much they will miss her presence in their lives.
An early climb with my parents
My mother always put her family first - she followed my father on his climbs, belayed him, and then seconded the route. She never took credit for her many accomplishments - climbing big mountains in a time before most women climbed.
My parents on a climbing trip long ago
After I was born, she usually accompanied my father on his trips, cooked for every one while camping, and often hiked to the base of the climbs to bring food for my father, while taking care of me.
Lisa feeding her family in the Schwaebische Alp
I still use the little tin tea kettle
She once told me: “When you were little, Richard needed a climbing partner, so we tied a rope around you , and tied you to a tree while we were climbing.”
Early climbing trip in Germany
None of the photos in their albums show me tied to a tree — most show my mother carrying me, holding me, and feeding myself and my father.
Lisa getting me a drink
She taught me to ski, and helped my father take me climbing, while still helping to take care of her own mother, and her niece, and her many friends.
Another early climbing trip - as I got bigger, the mountains got bigger, and harder.
As I look through the early photos, I have so many questions that I never had a chance to ask - so many things I never knew about.
After I grew up, and left home, my parents trekked in Nepal - but I’m not sure when, or where. They climbed Kilimanjaro , climbed in New Zealand, and numerous other places around the world. I wish they’d told me more about their trips - but I was far away, in Colorado, living my life and raising my own son.
My parents trekking in Nepal
And I hope that my mother’s many friends will read this, and share their memories of their times together.