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'I cannot understand this tragedy': Husband of Heidi McGovern on losing wife, injuring son

The family hasn't decided when or how they will tell McGovern's children about what happened to her, instead choosing to focus on her 2-year-old son's physical health following the crash.

BANGOR (NEWS CENTER Maine) -- The family of Heidi McGovern is speaking out about a pain no family should have to endure.

McGovern ended her own life Thursday evening by stepping in front of a tanker truck on I-95 outside the town of Lincoln. She had been holding her 2-year-old son, Enoch, in her arms.

He was thrown away from the truck, landing in the passing lane of the highway.

The first few people to come to his aid were a nurse, an EMT, and an ambulance returning home from Bangor.

Miraculously, he survived, and is at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in serious condition.

"We look at that like God said to Heidi, 'Okay Heidi, I'll take you, but I'm not done with Enoch,'" said Brenda Bickford, McGovern's mother.

Now, the family is remembering McGovern for more than the tragic way her life came to an end.

"She was the sweetest person," said Daniel McGovern, Heidi's husband, fighting back tears. "That's what most people would say. Just the nicest, sweetest person you ever met."

They say McGovern was smart, artistic, and a perfectionist. She loved her family, parents, sisters, brother, husband, and her children.

"He'd say, 'my favorite sister is Heidi because she doesn't pick on me,'" said Mitchell Bickford, McGovern's father, reciting what her only brother would say. "She never would say an unkind word about anybody."

"Anything she decided she wanted to do, if she did it, it couldn't be done in a better way," said Daniel.

At some point though, her depression took control, and it caused her to take her own life.

"She was convinced, I mean, definitely we believe wrongly so, but she was convinced she was doing what was the right thing," said Daniel.

He says Enoch is a spitting image of his mother, something he is grateful for, whereas the couple's other son Ethan, only ten months old, takes after his father.

The family believes McGovern took Enoch and not Ethan because she feared, since the two are so similar, he would grow up to have the same struggles in life. They believe she was trying to spare him.

"She was sad but she held it in, had a smile on her face, and just kept it to herself," said Brenda. "We tried to encourage her and this is how she chose to go and she didn't want Enoch to suffer like her."

"I cannot understand this tragedy, why or how, it's just something I can't wrap my mind around, but we can see that God has a plan for it, a purpose for it," said Daniel.

The family's faith never wavering even in this time of grief.

McGovern's husband and father are both pastors at a church in Lee, a mere ten miles from the crash site.

"It is difficult, but I always have that peace there that I can rely on and rest on and that strength," said Daniel.

"We have our crashes definitely and we hug and cry and then the Lord lifts us up," added Brenda.

The family hasn't decided when or how they will tell McGovern's children about what happened to her, instead choosing to focus on Enoch's physical health.

"Watching him heal is healing our hearts too," said Brenda.

The family says Enoch's health is improving every day. On Tuesday, he pulled out all of the wires and tubes attached to him and called his blue body cast "blue legs," letting the hospital staff sign it.

The family, first responders, and hospital staff all agree, it's a miracle he's alive.

"He's so young, I doubt he'll remember it," said Daniel. "At some point, I'm sure we'll have to talk about his mom."

"It'll become a different way of life."

As to the driver of the tanker truck involved in the crash, the family has expressed an interest in meeting him one day.

"We just want to hug him," said Brenda. "We cannot imagine what he's going through and we feel so bad for him and we want to hug him and say, 'we're so sorry that you're having to suffer this and will continue to suffer,' and we just want him to know. Someday we hope to meet him."

A memorial service at the Lee Baptist Church is scheduled for Friday afternoon at 2 p.m. and is open to the public. McGovern will be laid to rest in a private burial service prior to the memorial service.

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