Thursday, February 5, 2015

404 Houston

There's a very special home that sits on the side of a hill in Nelson, BC. From the outside the house is nondescript. There is nothing about the white siding or the brown porch that hints at what is contained inside the walls of this house. But the minute you walk through the front door you know you have arrived at a very special place.

Winter is my favourite time to be at 404 Houston. The house is heated with a wood stove that sits in pride of place in the kitchen. The most coveted seat is the rocking chair next to the fireplace, and I have spent my fair share of time sitting in it, enjoying the faint smell of wood smoke, the warmth of the fire, a cup of tea, and a nice long chat with my friend.

For 25 years I have been sharing my life's journey with my dear friend Barb. We have laughed together over what we would refer to as "comic relief," and we have cried together over the inevitable pain and disappointments that life throws one's way. We've shared hopes and dreams, fears and trauma. We were what L.M. Montgomery refers to in her Anne of Green Gables book as "kindred spirits."

The front door at 404 Houston has been opened to so many people over the years. It is a place others go for help, a listening ear, fellowship, celebration, or maybe, on a cold winter's day, just to warm up in front of the fire. It is a house filled with love and acceptance, and a faith that is steadfast. And now it is a house filled with sadness. My friend passed away last Friday. There will be no more visits while sitting in her warm, welcoming kitchen, no more phone calls sharing tidbits of our lives, no more laughing together over something funny, no more shared tears.

Barb leaves behind four children, a husband, four sisters, a mom, and the hundreds of people whose lives have been touched by her kindness and compassion over the years. It seems fitting that the most recent picture I have of Barb prior to her getting sick is this one taken a few years ago at our home in Kamloops.

Left to right: Espoir, Barb, Clementine

She had made the journey with a friend whose daughter was entered in a speech arts competition. About a decade earlier Barb had been instrumental in helping this family, refugees from Togo, immigrate to Canada. It was an immense job, and took a great deal of time, patience and paperwork. Barb stuck with it, and in the end this family found a new home and a new life in Canada. What's most remarkable about this is the fact that, in Barb's life, this wasn't all that remarkable. Her life was spent in the service of others.  Loving, giving, caring...

It's been a rough week.


37 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry, Kristie. {{{hugs}}}}

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  2. She sounds wonderful, quite inspirational, I'm so sorry for your loss Kristie, she will be very missed I think. CJ xx

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  3. Sending you a hug, my sincere condolences.

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  4. I'm very sorry for your loss, Kristie.

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  5. So sorry to hear your sad news Kristie. My thoughts are with you and Barb's family. Hugs to you. xx

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  6. Oh, Kristie, I am so sad for you. Barb sounds like a wonderful lady and she will be missed by everybody. Your tribute is beautiful. Hugs from Oz. xx

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  7. Kristie, I'm so very sorry to hear you've lost your dear friend of so many years. You will miss Barb so much and I send you and her family my deepest sympathy. This was a beautiful and loving tribute. Hugs from Wales. xx

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  8. I am so very sorry for your loss Kristie .. my thoughts are with everyone who is grieving for your dear friend. More hugs from Wales xxx

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  9. Oh my dear friend, I am so, so sorry for your loss. Your friend sounds like she was absolutely amazing, someone we would all like to know and be like. Words cannot help at a time like this but know I am keeping you close to my heart.
    Sending you a big hug,
    Meredith

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  10. Barb was an amazing person. I'm so sorry for your loss and for all of her family and friends. A daughter, wife, mother, friend...so many holes created by her passing. Along with the morning it will be important to celebrate what a wonderful person she was. This post is a nice tribute to your friend.

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  11. Oh Kristie, I'm so sorry for your loss. What a wonderful tribute.

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  12. Dear Kristie, I am so sorry for the loss of your wonderful friend. I too have many wonderful memories of houses in Nelson, from one aunt who lived outside of town to the other who lived just a block from Lakeside park. I spent many summers between the two places as well as a cabin "up the lake" It sounds like your friend was the very best kind of friend to have; loving, giving and caring. My thoughts go out to you and to her family.

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  13. Oh Kristie I am so very sorry to hear of the loss if such a dear and cherished friend. You must be heartbroken. Words can never say enough but your post was a beautiful eulogy to an incredible woman. All her friends and family will miss her terribly. Sending you a virtual hug . Take care.

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  14. So sorry for your loss, may your memories of your dear friend comfort you at this time xx

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  15. I am glad you have such lovely memories of that house and your dear friend. I am sorry for your loss - she sounds like an amazing woman.

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  16. Barb sounds like she packed a lot into her life and managed to change a lot of lives for the better. What a lovely legacy to leave behind. x

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    1. I am so sorry for your loss Kristie. What a blessing to be friends with such an amazing woman. Thinking of you. xx

      P.S. I felt I had to delete the first comment because of two spelling mistakes.

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  18. You have given your friend am amazing tribute and at such a sad time. Your friendship will always be there in your memories.

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  19. I'm so so sorry for your loss, you painted such a lovely picture of you friend. I hope with time your memories of your time together become easer for you to look back on. My regards to you & her family x

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  20. Oh, dear, Kristie, I am so sorry to hear this news. Sending love.

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  21. Life.....sometimes it just doesn't seem fair, does it. I'm sorry for your loss.

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  22. Everyone else has said it better than I could -- sincere condolences, Kristie. -- Ruth

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  23. I'm so sorry to hear of the loss of your very dear friend. A kindred spirit is hard to find again, especially when you've spent years building that special bond. You've written a beautiful tribute to a wonderful friend to all. Take care Kristie, and I hope the pain in your heart eases soon. Wendy xo

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  24. So sorry for your loss. What a beautiful tribute. I'm going to call my best friend today, it's been too long. Thanks.

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  25. Having lost a best friend myself (10 years now), I can understand a little of what you've lost and grieve with you. For each of us it is different--no one can really replace that particular person, so we must rely on our memories to soften the blow and carry us onward in life without them.

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  26. I'm so sorry for your lost, it's so hard to loose someone you love. take care Jaana

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  27. I am so very sorry you lost your bosom friend. You are in my thoughts and prayers as you go through missing her. She sounds like a remarkable person who touched every life she encountered.

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  28. Oh, Kristie, I'm so sorry to hear that. So sad. No words... just a long, tight, hug from me to you.

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  29. Kristie, I'm so sorry for the loss of your wonderful friend. ~Kim

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  30. Barb sounds like an amazing person and friend...so very glad that you had her in your life even if it wasn't for long enough. And I'm sure she felt the same about you...it's not hard to see what an amazing friend you were to her with this tribute. Hold all those memories close as you grieve.

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  31. Barb sounds like a very special person and those who have known her have been very lucky indeed. I'm so sorry for your loss, sending my sincere condolences to all those who love her and those whose lives have been touched by her.

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  32. Sorry to hear about your very special friend.

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  33. I'm so sorry. Losing a close friend leaves such a big hole in your heart and life. She sounds like a dear soul.

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  34. Hey Kristie,
    I'm so sorry that I somehow missed this post. I'm so sorry for the passing of your friend Barb. She sounded like a wonderful person. Sending you lots of love and a gentle hug.
    Leanne xx

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  35. Hi Kristie, So sorry to hear about the loss of your friend and kindred spirit. She sounds an amazing person and has given so much to so many people.Thinking of you.Sarah x

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