REDDING, Calif. - Hundreds gathered on Monday evening for a memorial to honor a Redding mother who died shortly after giving birth to a baby boy.
Heather Dopp had the baby in her Railroad Avenue home in Redding last Tuesday. The 38-year-old mother's friends and family members came together to celebrate her life at the Sequoia Middle School auditorium.
"Our hearts are in horrible pain and we can't make ourselves stop hurting, We can't turn back the clock and make the hurtful thing unhappen. All we can do is live today and hope for a better tomorrow," said Heather's son Rahtavian Lawson.
The oldest of Heather's children, 15-year-old Rahtavian Lawson, spoke in front of nearly 600 people to honor his mother.
"Thank you guys all for coming I appreciate it, and just everybody be happy I don't want to see anyone crying," said Rahtavian.
Heather leaves behind five children. Two of the three daughters attend Sequoia Middle School and one goes to Cypress Elementary. Her son Rahtavian attends Shasta High School and the second was born last Tuesday.
"She provided for the kids and did the best she could and she built high morals for each and every one of them," said Sequoia Middle School assistant principal Will Barnett.
Friends and family members shared stories of Heather's life.
"One god given gift that Heather had and we all know about it is the ability to talk really fast," said community leader Eddie McAllister.
"She always kicked my keister, I never beat her in a fight," said Heather's sister Jodi Shearman.
Heather is remembered as a kind and generous person, who always put everyone else's needs before her own.
"She could take care of everyone, known or not she didn't have to know you to take care of you," said Jodi.
Heather's older sister Jodi is adopting the baby boy Heath Romeo and plans to honor Heather's legacy of love.
"As I look around this room at all of these faces and her children, I would like to say good job little sister I'm very proud of you I hope we can carry your torch going forward," said Jodi.
Heather's four other children will stay with their grandmother in Happy Valley. For those who are interested in helping Heather's family, the Heather M. Dopp memorial fund has been set up at Tri-Counties Bank. You may donate at any branch.