Oct. 28, 2007: Family, friends gather for remembrance of missing mom
If they could, the intimate group of friends and family who gathered Saturday night to talk about Paige Birgfeld would have given anything to summon her back.
Almost four months after the doting mother of three young children vanished from their lives, those who knew her best remembered her as she would have liked: smiling; with a child on each hip; helping others.
Everyone laughed while watching a video, in happier times, of a MOMs Club party where Birgfeld and friends dressed up, danced and got silly. It was a scene Birgfeld’s father, Frank Birgfeld, had seen before, but he couldn’t bear to watch it again. The footage was the last video shot of his 34-year-old daughter before she disappeared.
“This is a duty I can’t do,” Frank said before exiting the room.
There wasn’t a dry eye when Andrea Land sang a song she composed about and for Birgfeld, something that she thought her friend would want everyone to do. It was titled, “Smile for me.”
Birgfeld’s home Saturday night seemed in tact with all the trinkets of a tight-knit family. A birthday card to “momy” sits on the kitchen counter. Candid family shots show Paige cradling her children. But those kids were without their mother Saturday night as they have been for months as the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department has long since said it believes foul play was involved in her disappearance. Frank and Suzie Birgfeld petitioned for guardianship of their grandchildren, but it was denied without a court hearing. The children are in the custody of their father, Paige’s second husband, Rob Dixon.
Longtime friend Suzzann Reed told of how she will always have something of Birgfeld’s to hold on to, a symbol of the woman’s generosity and spirit in the form of two quilts.
Reed, the mother of two, met Paige years ago when she lived in Denver. Paige had donated a handmade quilt to raffle at a fundraiser. When Reed’s then 5-year-old daughter saw the baby-blue quilt with the tiny, pink roses, she gushed. She had to have it, Reed recalled. Hearing this, Paige pretended the girl had won the quilt raffle and presented it to her.
But Reed said her daughter then told Paige how her sister also needed a quilt. Without any prompting, and to Reed’s surprise, Paige appeared soon after at Reed’s house with another handmade quilt.
“She just listened to this 5-year-old, then took the time and did magic,” Reed said. “She just knew that (my daughter) would really cherish it. She could have just blown it off, but she didn’t.”
Friends who knew Paige said they grieved as much for the children as for their missing mother.