A thank you to the many friends of Bess Dora Rosenfeld
April 2, 2009
I don’t know where to begin. Our first trip out here was to just enjoy the beauty and wonder Colorado had to offer. Our last trip was as parents experiencing the unthinkable, the death of my only child ” Bess.
We came here to attend a memorial service organized by her friends. We knew Bess from one perspective, but after what we were privileged to experience, we stand in awe.
Breckenridge became Bess’s adopted home in the early fall of 2006. As parents, we were quite anxious for my baby to go so far, but we had no choice. Bess was her own person and we had to respect it. She always knew we loved her and distance did not matter. When that fateful telephone call came, we were in total shock.
In the Jewish tradition, the individual is to be buried within the first 24 hours of the death, but this was different. Bess died on Feb. 28 and had to be flown back to Connecticut to be buried on March 4. We were lucky to have three of her Colorado friends attend her funeral in Connecticut, but we learned that her Colorado family also wanted the opportunity to say their good-byes. With great reluctance and a heavy heart, we traveled to Breckenridge to attend her other family’s memorial.
Right from the beginning, we knew we were entering a world we knew very little about, Bess of Breckenridge. Over the few days we spent, we were privileged to meet so many wonderful individuals who opened their hearts to total strangers, Bess’s parents. We cannot begin to tell you the lasting impact this has had.
As grieving parents, we saw the depth and breadth with which Bess had touched so many lives. We heard so many stories from total strangers. We knew Bess wasn’t the easiest individual at times, but she always gave her all. We had the privilege of meeting some of those she had touched in such a short time. This letter is our humble way of saying thank you. We were fearful that when she died there might not be any mark left behind. We were wrong. We heard how she might take a new individual under her wings, the smile she might give total strangers, the arguments she loved to engage in only to become best of friends over time. We learned how contagious her passion was for the sport of snowboarding. We are aware public works is exploring various approaches to give lasting recognition to her passion for the beautification of Breckenridge. We are thankful for t he opportunity she had, working for the town off season and learned that recently a letter went out asking her back.
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The loss is bottomless, but what you ” the people of Breckenridge ” gave her has left us speechless. We want to thank people who enhanced her life and now have given meaning to her death. From the EMS and fire department who responded and provided dignity, to an unspeakable event. Thank you to her cousin Jason who extended an invitation to her to come live and work in Breckenridge. We never realized she had an established office to return to after a hard day of teaching, thanks to Mark. To her many, many, many, locker mates and her fellow snowboarders and skiers, your stories were wonderful and we look forward to hearing more. To those she met while tending to the numerous gardens and to C.J., Niki, Heidi, Heather, Kristie, Sean, Judy, Lisa, Courtney, Peter, Tom, Cameron, Stan, etc. thank you. There are so many people who touched her life, please excuse us for not naming all of you. We know it does not diminish the importance you played in her life. We can go on but we now know there must be an end to everything.
So with this final thought, please know that all of you have allowed us to realize Bess did not die in vain. She touched people that we will never know. We hope years from now when you hear the “F Bomb” or see a particular flower or go down a particular run or are teaching your children or grandchildren, that you might for a moment remember that little powerhouse, Bess, and that contagious smile.
We thank all of you and look forward to visiting with you again in the future. With all of our love and gratitude,