Saturday morning I had a phone call to tell me Barrie had passed away the night before of a sudden heart attack. He has had heart trouble for several years and had a monitor implanted in his chest to warn when there is a problem. He will be sorely missed by friends, family, colleagues and clients.
I first met Barrie through my parents – who met him through a neighbor. He was doing taxes for the Torstenbo’s and they recommended him to Mom and Dad when they needed someone. Mom said he used to come out to the house at that point, then later they went to his office. When Eddie and I decided we wanted to be in Seattle in the future, we started putting roots down here. We opened a savings account and started having Barrie do our taxes. It meant I had a trip to Seattle every February – Eddie was usually off traveling somewhere.
We usually had federal tax, state tax depending on what state we lived and while we were in Virginia, we began to have a business tax return. It has been a whole lot easier to see Barrie to do the tax returns since we moved here; often I had to go by myself and took Mom to do her taxes. Barrie was always able to help us through some of the confusing things that Uncle threw at us, though mostly we have had a very simple return. Seems a bit selfish to wonder if he had finished our tax stuff this week. I saw him Wednesday at Breakfast Club , he said he was still deciding about the business. He was his usual cheerful self, always found humor in the IRS and Uncle.
There was another side to him, one that only came out around the Christmas holidays.
Barrie loved being Santa at Christmas time, just as much as he loved his work.
Barrie is the one who invited me to be a member of Kent Breakfast Club 10 years ago. My first thought was “I can’t do that!”, mainly because I had just recently moved back here and I was still trying to figure out what Promotional Marketing was. It was dropped in my lap and then suddenly to be asked to be part of the group was a bit overwhelming. But I did join and through the club I met the most remarkable, caring and enjoyable group of people. I gained experience, knowledge and confidence through the group – a soft place to fall. It is not the normal networking group – we don’t have high dues, requirements to bring referrals every week or have such a “Life is real, life is earnest” attitude. We are serious about business but we also have a good time laughing, learning about each other’s business and enjoying each other’s company.
There have been a lot of family things come up over the last 10 years and it has been such a comfort to have Barrie’s advice and help. When things were happening with Mom and dementia, he helped us so much; when Candy needed help, he was there for her. He was always there for my Mom and Dad when they started their custom wood business – he was a lot like my Dad, Barrie loved to talk and with the two of them it was always interesting. So glad Stan Torstenbo introduced Mom and Dad to Barrie, then we got to know him and had him do our taxes as well. He will be sorely missed by so many people who knew him.
I wrote my sisters Ellen and candy about Barrie. They sent these emails to me. From Ellen came:
What a jolt to hear about Barrie Lane–bless his heart for all he has done for our family over so many years. I’m remembering what Dr. Pierce said about Daddy: He died like a king, in his own garden and
without prolonged suffering, and it would seem to apply to Barrie too.
From Candy, who also sent pictures from a Christmas Day when he and Lois came when my sisters were visiting. We had a lovely time that day and were delighted they stopped to see us.
I am so sorry about Barrie’s passing. Please give my love and condolences to Lois. They were so happy together, I know it’s going to be very hard for her. I owe Barrie so much, especially being in this house, as it was he who had the idea in the first place. And he helped make it happen, and advised me when the financial difficulties began. He was such a wonderful man. Now Barrie will be on the other side, and Mom will have another familiar friend to greet her when she arrives. It is as if a whole world is disappearing as the generations pass. And I had expected Barrie would be with us for years and years. It’s another reminder that the only thing we can control is our response and our attitude toward what happens.
It still isn’t real to me yet. I saw Brandy at the chiropractor’s this morning and she said it finally hit her Sunday night. I wonder about myself – it has been 13 years since my Dad died suddenly and it doesn’t seem strange to me he isn’t here – maybe I haven’t accepted it after all.