Thank you. Those two words crossed my mind many times during Mom’s stay at Saint Anthony Summit Hospital and in the weeks that followed – during her trip to hospice and when she passed away last Wednesday. I felt a lot of gratitude and thanks to the people who make up this community.
There has been a lot of talk about the issue of affordable housing and how to balance that with those who want to buy second homes and use them as vacation rentals. It is a complex question.
My experience over the last five weeks of mom’s life brought up a side of the argument that isn’t often discussed: what does it mean to create and sustain community?
I live in a quiet area, Alpine Breck, where I’m happy to say there are a lot more trees than people. However, for the second time in seven years, the house I rent is sold. With current prices, it is impossible for me to buy a house, so I can only hope to find another long-term rental for myself and my two large Newfoundland dogs.
I have often written about my experience moving to Breckenridge and how I was welcomed by the church communities of Saint Mary’s Catholic Church and Saint John’s Episcopal Church.
In the past, I have used my experience as an example of why regular church attendance is so valuable. Not just for our spiritual health, but because church can be the place from which we grow our community roots and form relationships that touch every aspect of our lives throughout the week, not just for an hour on Sunday. .
This idea was proven over the weeks of my mother’s palliative care journey. I received countless emails, texts, phone calls, plants, and visits from pastors, priests, and friends who wanted to support Mom and me on our last journey together.
One of Mom’s biggest concerns was whether I would be okay after she died. After joining me in Breckenridge and seeing the community of friends I have here, Mom said she was no longer worried about my life after she passed away.
I agree with mom’s assessment. Yes, my heart is broken. Over the past week, there have been a dozen times when I looked up from the stove where I was cooking to share a funny anecdote with Mom or when I wanted to pick up the phone and call her. This was the hardest part.
But the good part was the nice friends who were willing to text when I felt unable to talk on the phone for the first week, or the friend who came and sat in my living room and just listened while I was crying.
My heart is full for Lauren, Laura, Kate, and Laurie of Bristlecone Health Services, who generously helped Mom and me through every step of the hospice journey.
I am grateful to Father Boguslaw of St. Mary’s and Charlie Brumbaugh, the rector of St. John’s, who spoke with Mom and prayed with her and held her hand even when she could no longer speak.
I am grateful to my PEO sisters, who sent emails and cards; for my prayer shawl knitting group, who sat with me on Zoom; and for St. Mary’s Evening Prayer Group; who prayed with me and for me and mom.
I’m grateful to Joyce Mueller and Maggie Ducayet and Pat Hoogheem, and especially Natalie Boyer, who helped me clean my apartment before Mom got home from the hospital, so we could make room for her bed. in the living room.
I’ve lived alone all my life, except for the years when Mom and I lived together. This community in Summit County is the first place I felt at home – where I made deep and lasting friendships rooted in my faith and interests.
It’s a place where I know the names of the people who work where I shop and pick up my mail. It’s a place that still feels like a small town for those of us who live here year-round.
I don’t know if I’ll call Breckenridge home after July or if, like so many other locals, I’ll just be kicked out of Summit County. But as the debate over affordable housing and short-term rentals continues, hopefully we’ll examine what makes a city a community. The people who make up this community made my life and my mother’s life so much better because we lived here.
I want to say “Thank you very much”.
Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson’s column “Walking Our Faith” is published Saturday in the Summit Daily News. Anderson is the author of 10 novels and non-fiction books on faith. She has lived in Breckenridge since 2016. Contact her at [email protected].