As I started writing this eulogy for my niece, Alissa, I began by looking at her facebook page, scrolling down and down. First thing I noticed was how many friends she had. I contacted some of them and found that most considered themselves close friends and had the most beautiful things to say about her. To be honest, I wasn’t aware that she had too many friends, but I was wrong.

The next thing I noticed was how lovely, positive and optimistic so many of her posts were. 
For example: A Rainbow over Somerville

A lovely day at Look Park in North Hampton, 

A photo, looking like an impressionistic painting of new spring colors, as she remarks Here is what it looks like outside my window
without all the snow.

And, perhaps my favorite, she wrote, “A distant Red Robin heralding spring. There is hope”. And what you see is a gray looking photo, trees with bare branches, and no bird in sight, but Lissy saw that red robin in the distance.

The last thing I noticed was how funny she was. A few examples:
·           “Just found out my unemployment check has been sequestered. Anyone needs me I will be seeking political asylum in either Canada or Sweden”.
·          · 98 degrees! I can't take this anymore. I'll be in the North Pole if anyone needs me.
·          · Ugh, my apt is overrun by ants. This is disgusting like a horror movie come to life...or like a picnic gone wrong.
·          · “Being in an airport is like doing time for a crime you didn't commit”.

·          January 13, 2014 A picture of a hippie looking, bearded guy with round glasses, red and white striped-shirt, sitting in the lotus position and the quip is: Plot Twist. Waldo Finds Himself!

·          At times the humor was a bit darker, for example, there was a
·          post with a picture of a huge pill in capsule form, with this list of questions:  Depressed? Over-Worked? Job Suck? Unappreciated? Family Problems? Money Worries? Well, here is a pill for you. F U K I T O L. When life just blows…. FUCKITOL!! …1,000 MG. 

Another had a picture of a nymph like Fairy Fire Spirit upon a steed and it read: “Someone told me I was delusional... I almost fell off my unicorn”. 

And one post read: “If you are reading this you have survived your entire life up until this point. You have survived traumas, heartbreak, devastation, the different phases of life. AND HERE YOU ARE.   You, go, motherfucker. You’re awesome.

An abundance of loving friends, cheerfulness and positivity and a very funny sense of humor. And, there was also a darker side, major food issues and pain.

What all of this tells me about Alissa is that, like all of us, she was not one-dimensional, but multi-faceted, complicated.

What everybody seemed to know about Lissy was that she had a loving heart, a quiet and loving nature and was supportive of all the right causes. In fact, one of the last things she did was to send in her loan to a KIVA recipient, a loan that helps someone in the developing world and is ultimately returned to the giver who can then make a new loan to someone else. Alissa made that loan. I will carry it on for her.
Alissa is now on Kiva!

Loans that change lives
Thanks to you, Alissa is now alleviating global poverty on Kiva.
Thank you so much for introducing your friends to Kiva. Together we can fight poverty worldwide!
Help us grow the Kiva community!
Invite a Friend

Alissa was a spiritual person. It seemed to me, it was with this side of her, that many of her friends in the Boston area connected. For many years she did yoga and she participated in organizations with a spiritual bent.
Alissa Breitstein and Deepa Thapa are now friends.

 For my 60th birthday, Lissy gave me a small silver painted bowl with a cover, that reminded me of a genie’s lamp, but instead of making a wish and rubbing it, there were these words printed around its perimeter: WISH, DESIRE, DREAM, and HOPE. Inside were little scrolls of paper neatly tied with little silver ribbon, on which I was to write a wish, desire, dream and hope. And so I did 3 years ago. Now, I will take one of them out and write on the opposite side a new HOPE, wish and desire, that Alissa is now in a state of peace, tranquility and even bliss, and I will put it back in that little spirit bowl that Lissy gave me.


I will end with some posts written by Alissa’s Boston area friends on her facebook page or in private messages.

David Vendetti     I really appreciate you letting me know. I absolutely adored her. My heartfelt condolences.

Robert Nardin    Alissa was a great person and very loved. She had many friends in the Boston area. She will be very missed.
I would love to be there but it's tough, being all the way out in Austin. I will say Kaddish for her this Friday at Shul. (I had asked him if he thought Lissy knew how much she was loved by so many people)… I think Alissa knew how much she was loved on one level but I think later on depression robbed her of that knowledge. May Alissa's memory be a blessing
(Another message)Thank you! you were a good friend. I learned a lot.

Michelle Marcus   When I picture Alissa in my mind from years ago growing up, it is her infectious laugh that plays over and over again ... I am sure wherever she is her laugh is filling the room with many smiles that were once lost. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of her family during this sad and difficult time.

Andrew Slack   I miss you more than words can say. I have missed you since moving in mid-2013. Being your roommate from 2006 to 2013 has been one of the best things in my life. You have meant and continue to mean the world to me. You have taught me so much with your strength and your integrity, your curiosity, and our shared humor. I miss you so much I can't even tell you.
Monika Eghbalian
   Alissa, my heart is filled with sadness. I am so sorry the world has lost your beautiful, kind soul. I feel so blessed to have shared a home and friendship with you. I wish I could have told you how much you impacted me and how special you are. May you rest in peace. Your spirit will live strong within our hearts.

Catherine Gunderson  I worked with Alissa Breitstein at the Mass Bar Association. I moved to Boston after graduating college, looked for work in the city and I remember the moment she walked into the Mass Bar (while I waited nervous in the lobby). Her face immediately brought me calm and we were friends from there on out. She helped during a sad, lost time in my life and I lived with her briefly before moving out of the city. I always wanted to make it back to Boston to reconnect with her. This is hard news.

Thank you to all who are able to share their photos and stories of Alissa Breitstein. I feel displaced and disoriented by the loss of Alissa and the inability to reconnect.

Betsy Helfaer posted this notice for the Boston area friends: A Memorial Meeting at Dado Tea Shop 955 Mass Ave. Cambridge. Noon Saturday Feb.14.  

Margot Suydam Thanks Betsey for getting her friends together. Walking home in the snow and remembering many moments of laughter and conversation with Allissa. Her keen intellect and sense of humor is what I remember most as well as her kindness and unassuming presence! She will be missed! RIP dear friend!

Carol Lazell   Much, much too soon, Alissa. I will miss you a lot. I was always glad to see you. We didn't spend enough time together, but I always enjoyed what you said and your quiet wisdom. Thanks for teaching me to play Words with Friends, and for being such an amazing and brilliant player. You had such a lovely energy. I wish you only the greatest peace and joy and hope the next phase unfolds for you with beauty and ease.

Bill-Carm Ingebretsen We are grieving with you. Lissy was the kindest and gentlest of Kirsten's friends. She will be missed.

Susan Vreeland  an author who I read and friended on facebook wrote: She is still with you spiritually. Holding to this strongly, will lessen the grief.

Susie Goldman  Alyssa was loved and cared for by her "family" in the Cambridge area and beyond. We too are in shock. Remembering her beauty as a person. My condolences to all.

Saddened to hear about another young life lost of a great person I used to work with Alissa Breitstein. She helped me through a hard time, and we shared the torture of working at Harbor Towers together. I wish we'd gotten a chance to spend more time together and I am saddened to hear of your passing. My condolences to her family and loved ones.

There was one more of Alissa’s facebook posts that I’ve left for the end, and this one I think she meant for me to find and include in this tribute, It’s the one each of us must listen to and take to heart.  There is a picture of Christopher Robin and Pooh sitting on a bluff beneath a tree and it says: “If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together… Keep me in your heart, I’ll stay there forever”.


I love you Lissy. Alissa Breitstein, you are in my heart forever.

For anyone who would like to make a donation in Alissa's memory, she had volunteered for this charity at one point and I think she would be happy to know that people supported it in her name. Horizons for Homeless Kids



I have seen some inquiries about my sister, and unfortunately the tragic news is true. My sister Alissa has passed away this week. The services will be held in NJ, details to come as we get them.
Info for the Services:
Alissa Jill Breitstein
Jewish Memorial Chapel
Sunday, February 15th at 11:00 AM...
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841 Allwood Road Clifton, New Jersey 07012 Vincent Marazo, Manager, NJ Lic. #3424Peter G. Ferdinando, Jr., NJ Lic. #3847 Tel: 973-779-3048 Fax: 973-779-3191
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Many may of heard by now, my sister Alissa died this past week. Finding the words to express the sadness isn't possible, so I will just say right now that I will miss her.

In loving memory of Alissa Breitstein, wishing you peace.

Music video by Sarah McLachlan performing Angel. (C) 1997 Arista Records, Inc.
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a tribute to a dear friend: +Alissa Breitstein
My Dear Alissa Jill heart emoticon
Mere human words could never express the sorrow that we felt at this point in time... Im expressing my human grief in a song - because music is the melody of my heart and the language of our soul .... we'll gonna miss you ... 'till we meet again. "
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David Gates' Suite: Clouds and Rain with video background..
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Celebrating the life of Alissa Breitstein...we love and miss you more than words...
 — with William-Carm Ingebretsen 

I love you and miss you. The world is not the same without you...so very sad...no words...

Sherril Smoger-Kessous, we can't thank you enough for putting this collage together, I still don't know how you did it so fast. Fred and I have been looking at it and talking about Alissa all night.

Thank you Sherril Smoger-Kessous for sharing this with me. Celebrating the life of Alissa Breitstein... Gone too soon but never forgotten........
 — withAlissa Breitstein.

Dylan Ash No words.

Alissa Breitstein was my second cousin on my fathers side. As I prepare myself for her funeral, I'm sad that I didn't know her as well I wanted to. She was a very nice, beautiful person and she will be missed terribly. Rest in peace, Lissy, and I hope all is happy and well where you are now.

Tomorrow is my niece's funeral. I type these words and I look at them with disbelief so profound, that I want to go back and delete them. But that won't change the reality. Our hearts are breakig but we have felt the love and heart felt condolences that we have received and the unbelievably beautiful sentiments that Alissa Breitstein's friends in the Boston area wrote to and about her. She was truly loved and appreciated by many.Tomorrow will be a hard day.

It was with an extremely heavy heart today, that I had to attend my cousinAlissa Breitstein 's funeral. I don't think that many of my friends knew her well, but she was a beautiful, smart and caring person, who touched the lives of so many people and has left us way too early. The pain of her loss will never be relieved, however I find solace in hearing the stories from her friends in Boston and how many people she affected. She will be forever loved and missed by us all. I love you Alissa.

The funeral is past. The cemetery is past. The first day of Shiva is past. Tomorrow another and last day of Shiva. The reality of Alissa Breitstein's death sets in only now and again. It is so final, but that is too much to accept. We have been inundated with so much love both real and virtual that it fills me and maybe that is the one and only good thing that comes out of this. Hugging people today felt like the actual embodiment of love and for that I am so grateful.

I think the hard part may be just beginning. Today we sat Shiva and it was basically our family, a wonderful friend of my sister, Jo-Ann Smoger-Breitstein, Joe, and a few friends of Jenn, my niece, who once again organized and put together the shiva, food, presentation, etc. beautifully. Thanks Jennifer Delacruz.. We talked. We laughed. We cried. We hugged a lot at the begining and end. We repeated the Kaddish for Lissy one last time. And now we continue our lives, each on our own. We will of course always be there for each other, but not physically, like the last several days. Today started out harder than yesterday and tomorrow may be harder than today. And so it goes.

I have always considered Boston one of my favorite cities. It was my go-to city for the years I lived in Providence, RI and I loved it. It was young and alive and hip. Then I loved it as a destination city. Then I loved it because my daughter went to Brandeis, outside of Boston and my niece, Alissa lived within it's city walls. Now when I hear its name in the news for record breaking snow or about its program to counter terrorists from recruiting its young citizens, a frown appears on my face, for its sole meaning for me now, is that Boston is the city from which my niece's body was sent home to be buried. Boston is now synonymous with sorrow.

I posted this on my FB page but was told Alissa's friends couldn't see it because I didn't highlight her name. Anyway here is the post
Jennifer and I were in Boston for the past few days attending to some of Alissa's affairs. What we found out is that Alissa has so many friends from all walks of life who love her and will miss yer terribly. Alissa had a full life full of friends and love. It won't bring her back but I know it does give me some solace knowing that emotionallly she was not alone. To her friends, thank you.

Carolyn Holland I just learned a few hours ago of Alissa's passing from running into a common friend on the street in Harvard Square. Yes, she had so many friends, folks are talking about her on the street! And it's lovely to read all these posts. My thoughts and prayers to all her family and friends.

This is awful horrible news. I'm so profoundly sad. I worked with Alissa for many years at the bar association. We had lunch together practically every day. I loved her dearly. Had no idea she was ill.

Taken in Oct. 2011 at my 60th birthday party. We were all so happy celebrating together.
 — with Alissa Breitstein.

'Taken in Oct. 2011 at my 60th birthday party. We were all so happy celebrating together.'

May 12, 2013 · 

Happy Mother's day to all mama's  

Christmas Dec. 29, 2012

'So sad to hear this. I will miss your gentle spirit, and remember times with you at the Half Shell, Oscars, walks in Cambridge... Here you are with my daughter, who you were so wonderful with. Thank you for being our friend.'

So sad to hear this. I will miss your gentle spirit, and remember times with you at the Half Shell, Oscars, walks in Cambridge... Here you are with my daughter, who you were so wonderful with. Thank you for being our friend.

miss you Alissa. You were always a good friend. I'll miss you. I know you are in a better place.

Saddened today with the news of my sweet friend Alissa Breitstein's passing. Prayers sent up for her and her family. Gratitude for her companionship
:*(through yoga teacher training and hard times and lots of uncertainty and feeling totally lost that we faced together. I love you, my friend.  my sweet friend!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i love yoooooooooooooooou!!!!!!!!!! 

Saddened today with the news of my sweet friend Alissa Breitstein's passing. Prayers sent up for her and her family. Gratitude for her companionship through yoga teacher training and hard times and lots of uncertainty and feeling totally lost that we faced together. I love you, my friend.

Alissa and friend Jean-Bernard Lazaro.


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