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Memorials

February 26, 2013

Today marks two years since Ben died.  TWO YEARS. I thought time might just stop without him here, but it didn’t. Time continues to lift the grief. And, although my heart still aches in many ways, it is so very full of happiness as well. I miss him.  Gosh, I miss him every minute of every day.  I am amazed that life continues to be fun, and exciting, and beautiful, and adventurous, and challenging, and hilarious… even though he is not here.  Maybe it’s because he’s close by, reminding me to smile and enjoy the moment.  I am constantly reminded of him when I pass our favorite spots in Denver, when I drink coffee out of a mug he gave me, when I think of something he did to make me laugh.  He inspires me.

And so do my family and friends. You all give me so much to be grateful for and so much to look forward to. Your love and celebration of Ben warms my heart.  So to me, it seems obvious that difficult days like today should be spent with people who love me and who love Ben so very much. And that’s exactly where you’ll find me today.  In the company of good friends (and hopefully some fresh pow)… skiing at Vail.  And then a pizza night with even more of our incredible friends, to laugh and celebrate and toast a man we miss so much.  This would make him so happy.

And although I wholeheartedly believe that Ben can be celebrated anytime and anywhere, there are a couple places where we have created memorials for him and I thought this would be a good time to share. First, many of you know that while I was in NZ last year we had a bench built in Ben’s honor on one of his favorite hiking tracks.  It is in the most BEAUTIFUL spot!  I have loved receiving pictures and stories of friends sitting on his bench, having a quiet moment, and taking in the view.  I hope many of you can find your way to Wanaka and Ben’s bench some day.  And second, we donated an evergreen in Ben’s honor at Chautauqua Park in Boulder, CO this past fall.  Chautauqua is home to many of our favorite hiking trails, and with beautiful views of Boulder and the flatirons, it just can’t be beat.  I love that Ben has a ‘permanent spot’ here.

So, however you spend today, I hope you have many smiles and happy thoughts of Ben…

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A year in review and looking ahead…

February 13, 2013

Happy 2013!! I know we’re half way through February, but better late than never, right?

2012 was a fabulous year for the Benjamin Dodt Rocky Mountain Fund. Thanks to your generous support we were able to donate to some incredible causes throughout Colorado.

As many of you know, Colorado was ravaged by wildfires over the summer, a devastating loss of land, homes, and resources. The BCD fund contributed to the Colorado Fire Relief 2012 Fund which, in total, provided over $1.5 million in support of recovery efforts. This went to case management and mental health services for victims, flood mitigation and erosion control, tree replanting, and volunteer fire departments. What a gift.

The BCD Fund also continues to donate to the Evans Scholarship Program, an incredible organization that supports college students through leadership and involvement in the golf community. Ben was a grateful member and proud alumni.

However, for me, perhaps the most touching contribution we made this year was to the YMCA ‘Y Achievers’ program. This is a program specifically for high school age children in Denver. It provides students in need with the support and skills they will require to embrace their future. I was floored when I arrived home one day to a mailbox full of letters from the Y Achievers students thanking me for our donation.

Quotes from a few of the HEAP of touching letters…
We want to thank you for carrying on the legacy of a great man who cared about our community and made a difference for the good. We hope to give back to our community as you have given back.
It really means a lot that you still support the YMCA. I’m sorry for your loss. I’m sure if he was still here he would be very proud of what the money is going towards. I thank you for your generous heart.
I would like to thank you for donating money for us to have a student leadership class. This class is important to me because it helps me cope with the outside world by appreciating what I have now. I appreciate what I have because others don’t have all of the opportunities and people that care about us enough to not give up.

It just makes my heart full. And I hope it brings a smile to you too. What a community effort this continues to be. It makes me so proud to know that Ben’s energy and love continues to be shared and felt by many. He is somewhere happy and grateful, I just know it.

On a personal note, I am back home after a fabulous year of adventures.  I’m feeling reconnected, recharged, and ready for the year ahead.  This is the perfect time to reflect on the year that has past, look forward to what’s to come, and have gratitude for a life that is full. And I have so much to be grateful for.  Many of you followed my travel blog over this past year (travelingdaybyday.wordpress.com) as my travels brought me around New Zealand, Australia, and SE Asia. What an adventure!  My time away was full of new friends, beautiful new trails, new challenges, lots of reflection, a few tears, heaps of laughter, and many MANY happy memories of Ben.

And the Dodt family had much to celebrate this year as well! We welcomed Benjamin Daniel Parsin into the world, Gwen and Shawn’s son.  I’m an aunt!!  So incredibly smitten with this little boy.  I look forward to watching him grow and helping him get to know his namesake and beautiful uncle, Ben.  In other fabulous news, Esther has completed all of her cancer treatments and is thrilled for the year ahead, cancer free!  YEAH!!  She is so strong, I couldn’t be more proud.

Time continues to help me heal as I move forward without Ben. His presence is strong and inspiring. I am excited for the year ahead and just know great things are in store.  In the meantime, I can’t THANK YOU enough for your support of the BCD fund, your enthusiasm for my travels, your love for Ben, and your part in my healing process.  It means so much.

With Gratitude,
Kate

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September 22, 2012

Shared from The Next Adventure… One Day At A Time.

The Next Adventure... One Day At A Time.

It’s official! Ben has his very own place in Wanaka. A piece of real estate with his name on it. I’m so excited. A couple of months ago, I inquired with the local Lakes Council about donating a memorial bench in his name. The kindness they have bestowed on me and the efficiency of the whole process has been incredible… the bench is PERFECT.

We picked one of Ben’s favorite places in Wanaka, the trailhead of the Outlet Track which meanders along the gorgeous Clutha River. Ben, my mom, and I discovered this magical place when we were biking together back in November 2010. I’m convinced this track was one of the reasons Ben wanted to move to Wanaka. It’s pretty fabulous. When Ben’s family and I visited again in October 2011, we spread some of his ashes not far from where the bench sits now. This place will always…

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Colorado Fire Relief 2012

July 8, 2012

I have been so stunned over the last month to hear about the fires at home in Colorado.  It’s humbling to realize that a force of nature can wipe out so much  in virtually no time at all – favorite hiking trails, beautiful wilderness, entire neighborhoods. I’ve been trying to keep up to date with the latest fire status via the Internet and such… But when the fires started getting international coverage in NZ, I knew it was not good. Luckily, all of my friends at home are safe and sound, however I know that many MANY people were not so lucky.  My flatmate, Chelsey, is from outside of Fort Collins and unfortunately her family home was not spared from the fires. What devastating news.

It’s pretty harsh to realize that while I was complaining about the less than perfect snow conditions last winter, this is what it translates to… No snow melt and a dry, dry summer. There is a much bigger picture in play here.

I recently viewed a movie called chasing water about the dire water shortage in the west and the Colorado river.  Check it out:

http://forgemotionpictures.com/films/chasing-water/

http://video.patagonia.com/video/Chasing-Water

The Denver foundation, which helps me manage Ben’s fund, has been encouraging the community to donate to the Colorado fire relief 2012 fund.  They are processing donations immediately and mobilizing resources where they are most needed. This includes support for continued fire fighting as well as relief for the many people who have lost EVERYTHING in these fires.  I just made a donation in Ben’s honor to this fund, I am confident it is something he would have wanted.  Even though we aren’t natives… Colorado is our home.  We have been so incredibly grateful to be able to live in such a beautiful place.  The trails, slopes, and national parks have been our playground for many years, and I hope it stays that way!  Thank you for supporting the BCD Fund so that we can give to causes like this. If you would like to donate yourself please visit:

http://helpcoloradonow.org/
http://www.denverfoundation.org/community/page/fire-relief-fund

Ben’s Birthday Hike…

June 12, 2012

Last weekend I had a FABULOUS hike in celebration of Ben’s 28th birthday.  I packed my trusty backpack, a tent, a PB&J, a puffy jacket… what more do you need?… and headed off on the Queen Charlotte Track.  The weather was crisp, but in typical Ben fashion, the sun was shining the ENTIRE two days.  I couldn’t have imagined a better ‘birthday party’ for my incredible husband.

To see pictures and hear more about the weekend, please visit my travel blog at http://travelingdaybyday.wordpress.com/ and read the post titled Closing the Gap.

Happy Birthday Ben!

Birthday Wishes…

June 2, 2012

Happy birthday to the love of my life!!  June 3rd will always be a day of celebration for me, your family, and your friends. It commemorates the 26 amazing birthdays that you celebrated with us.  Although it’s definitely bittersweet thinking of the 80 more birthdays I wish you could be here for.  Don’t worry, I would have helped you blow out all of those candles on top of your ice cream cake…

As with most holidays and any other occasion that involved presents, you were always so excited to celebrate and spend the day with family and friends.  The pictures below are from the first birthday we celebrated together… you were turning 24!!  That birthday seems like ages ago, probably because we packed so much life into these last few years.  I’ve said it before, but I can’t say it enough – I am in awe of the way you chose to live your 26 years.  You continue to inspire me to do more, see more, smile more, explore more. To enjoy every minute that I’m given and spend less time sweating the small stuff.  What a gift. Leave it to you to be giving ME gifts on YOUR birthday :)

I’ve planned a two-day birthday hike in your honor.  I’m headed out to the Queen Charlotte Track in the Malborough Sounds, a place we visited in 2010 and LOVED.  I won’t be able to indulge in ice cream cake and crab legs on the trail (our typical birthday tradition).  But I promise to enjoy every step of the hike, eat a PB and J in your honor, meticulously fold the tent like you used to, and maybe I’ll even find a reason to use your multi tool! I can’t think of a better way to celebrate your special day.

I am so very grateful that you were born, Ben.  Your impact on this world has been profound. I am thrilled to be able to celebrate your 28th birthday today –  for you, with you, and because of you!  Cheers to 28 and many, many more!!

Ben, the foodie.

May 22, 2012

This post is going to seem like it’s out of left field… And, it kinda is. I was reading my US
Weekly today and I came across an eggo waffle ad (I know, bear with me here). All of a
sudden this flooding memory came back of one of Ben’s favorite breakfasts… Blueberry
eggo waffles with peanut butter and syrup on top. When he first told me about this
delicious treat, I was skeptical. But seriously, TRY IT. It will change your life :)

We always had two jars of peanut butter in the house however – smooth for Ben and
chunky for me. As agreeable as he was, this was one thing he would NOT budge on.
Anyways, the peanut butter waffle reminder just got me remembering and chuckling about
all of Ben’s quirky eating habits… And I just had to share them.

First, his complete intolerance of spicy anything never ceased to amuse us and our friends. He LOVED wheat thins and ranch dip… Or really, anything with ranch dip. And his chips ahoy cookies had to be kept in the fridge. Also, he swore up and down that he hated mushrooms, but when I would sneak them into meals he would gobble it right up :)

He ALWAYS left one sip left in any beverage he was drinking… Milk, coffee, water, juice…
ONE sip. Just finish the dang drink! I was so grateful and lucky for the fact that after every
shift I worked, Ben would have dinner ready and waiting for me when I got home. Problem
was, most of the time he couldn’t wait for me to get home. He would try to wait, and then
usually about ten minutes before I got home he would cave and eat without me. For such
a skinny guy… His appetite was astounding. I can’t tell you how many times he called me
from work and admitted that it was only 10:30 but he had already eaten his entire lunch!

A couple of summers ago Ben decided he was lactose intolerant after he ate what he
thought was a bad string cheese. Of course, we had just gotten back from a camping trip
where he had cooled beer in a river and then drank it (giardia, anyone?). But nope Ben
cut dairy out cold turkey… And he was miserable. After about two weeks of almond
cheese, soy milk and coconut milk ice cream I finally convinced him that he wasn’t lactose
intolerant. The relief on his face was epic.

Maybe the funniest quirk of all is something I only just learned about after Ben died. His
co-worker, Tina, clued me in to this one. Ben’s favorite part about Fridays (besides going
out to lunch with Jaron and the guys) was donut and bagel mornings at work. Well
apparently Ben had a routine with his bagel. He liked it toasted, but didn’t like when the
cream cheese melted… So, he would put the bagel in the freezer for 30 seconds to cool it
down so the cream cheese wouldn’t melt when he spread it on. Ingenious! Why wait for the bagel to cool if you can speed up the process by putting it in the freezer? This guy was efficient.

Now it may seem like I’m having a laugh at the expense of my beautiful and talented
husband… but the truth is, these habits were SO endearing. He always kept me smiling.
Secretly, I loved the fact that I got to finish the last sip of wine in every glass that I EVER
poured for him. I adored that he enjoyed cooking, sharing meals, and that he also didn’t mind doing the dishes. I was amazed at the amounts of food he could eat without gaining a pound. And I am grateful for the fact that every time I see eggo waffles I will smile and think of Ben… And peanut butter and syrup.