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Close to home with Mary Beth Breckenridge

Remembering a nature lover's last act of selflessness

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: May 5, 2014

A little more than a week ago, I wrote about a new book titled Taming Wildflowers, by Miriam Goldberger.

In looking through the book in preparation for that story, my eyes had been drawn to a photo of a lovely young woman named Dana with a tattoo of wildflowers on her back. I’m not a particular fan of large tattoos, but this one was delicate and different. I read the caption and discovered it was a tribute to Dana’s mother and “a wonderful reminder of the connection all humans have with the wild.”

What I didn’t realize at the time was that Dana is the daughter of a man whose story I’d told in the Beacon Journal about a year ago. Her father, Brecksville resident Ken Buzzelli, emailed me to proudly point out her presence in the book.

I met Ken when I was working on a story on natural burial options, and he was gracious enough to share the bittersweet story of his late wife, Laura.

A nature lover who passed away in 2009 of complications from cancer, Laura Buzzelli chose in advance to be buried at Foxfield Preserve, a natural burial ground in southwestern Stark County. Ken met me on a warm spring evening at the Tallgrass Prairie in the Cleveland Metroparks’ Brecksville Reservation – a place Laura loved -- and told me of his initial reservations about her choice, but how it now brings him comfort to know his wife’s last act was to give her body back to the Earth.

"It's just a wonderful place to be," he said of Foxfield. "I don't think morbid thoughts. I thank Laura for bringing me there."

I was delighted to discover the connection to the young woman in the book, and I was moved once again by Laura Buzzelli's selflessness.

Dana’s tattoo, like Ken’s championship of Foxfield Preserve, are keeping alive Laura’s commitment to the earth and sharing it with others.

What lovely ways to honor her memory.

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