The family of a Lee woman who police say killed herself by walking in front of a tanker truck on Interstate 95 is remembering her as an intelligent, kind and artistic person.

Heidi McGovern, 26, stepped in front of the truck Oct. 4 on the highway outside Lincoln while still holding her 2-year-old son, Enoch, in her arms. After the impact, the boy landed on the ground in the passing lane.

He remains in serious condition at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, according to News Center Maine (WCSH-WBLZ). A nurse, an EMT and an ambulance driver returning home from Bangor were among the first to come to his aid.

“We look at that like God said to Heidi, ‘OK Heidi, I’ll take you, but I’m not done with Enoch,’ ” said Brenda Bickford, McGovern’s mother.

McGovern’s husband, Daniel, called his wife “the sweetest person. That’s what most people would say. Just the nicest, sweetest person you ever met.”

They said McGovern was smart, artistic and a perfectionist who loved her family.

Her brother would say, ” ‘My favorite sister is Heidi because she doesn’t pick on me,’ ” said Mitchell Bickford, McGovern’s father. “She never would say an unkind word about anybody.”

Daniel McGovern said his wife’s depression overcame her, causing 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,” he said.

Family members said they believed Heidi McGovern decided to take Enoch with her and not her older son, Ethan, because she feared Enoch would grow up with the same struggles as she did, so 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 Bickford. “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 McGovern.

Heidi McGovern’s husband and father are both pastors at a church in Lee, 10 miles from the crash site in Penobscot County.

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

“We have our crashes, definitely, and we hug and cry and then the Lord lifts us up,” said Brenda Bickford.

The family has not yet decided when or how they will tell McGovern’s children about what happened. They said they are focusing on Enoch’s health.

“Watching him heal is healing our hearts too,” said Brenda Bickford.

The family said his health is improving daily. 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 agreed that it’s incredible he’s alive.

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

As for 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,” Brenda Bickford said. “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.”

A memorial service at 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 before the memorial service.

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