Goodbye Bonfire to Katie’s House

We gathered again last night both to mark the 6 months since Katie’s passing but also to say a sad farewell to her lovely house.  So many memories were shared under this roof and it’s surroundings that it is hard to have to say goodbye, as the new owners take ownership today.  But it is a young family with a child, so hoping this house brings them as many good times as we have had here.

It has been tough emotionally this last month, sorting through Katie’s things.  We thought the house would not sell until spring when the market picked back up, but a buyer came along.  At the last bonfire, the girls all took some of Katie’s awesome clothing and shoes (for the lucky friends whose feet are a tiny 6), some furniture and accessories, that reminded them of Katie K.  And each took some of Katie’s artwork that was framed in the house.  We moved the stuff to keep, personal things, treasure artwork and Nate’s toys, to Tammy’s house.  Then some of the family furniture and some cool pieces Katie picked out herself, and alot of the odds and ends were included in the estate sale last week.  The proceeds from which are going to replace the Katie Kits for Project Give-Back that were lost in the sewer flood from the crazy rain storm in August.

So with an empty house, we brought folding chairs and gathered around the fireplace inside, as the chilly 15 degree temperature kept us from having a bonfire outside.  Reggie brought a small speaker set and his iPod filled with some of Katie’s music, so the house had a cool buzz to combat the empty spaces.  Our now standard fare of middle eastern platters and a big sushi platter, filled everyone with good eats.  And we stood around the kitchen (like every good party), and sat in the living room by the fire, sharing each others company and remembering our Katie K and Chuck whose birthday would have been earlier this month.

And most importantly this month we were saying farewell to Katie’s home, a home that she had decorated to be a warm and loving space.  Now empty, the rooms seemed smaller and a bit of Katie’s energy was seemingly lost, as the scented oils she used to diffuse no longer lingered in the air, as they had for months.  I think the house sold so quickly because it still smelled so good in the house and because of her beautiful taste in decorating and furnishing.  Katie’s touch.

I guess we have to move on from this, as tough as it is to have to leave a space that reminded us so, of dear Katie.  Almost as if the reality of her not being here is blatantly pushed in our faces.  She can’t be gone.  She must be coming back, right?  This step is a hard one in ways, but now we take pieces of Katie’s home to our own homes and let her live on, closer to us now.

We will remember 13116 Borgman for all that it gave us.  Wonderful, wonderful gatherings of friends and family.  The joy and laughter of Katie and Nate, and the adoring girls that helped with him.  Girls Night out by the bonfire.  Lounging in the living room by the heat of the fire in winter.  Nate riding his bike without training wheels for the first time across the front yard.  A place that Nate loved as his home, and enjoyed his days and nights with his Mom, sleeping in her bed until he was old enough to sleep in his big boy bed, but still free to come back if he had a bad dream.  A place where Katie recovered from the chemo and radiation treatments, and surgeries.  A place where Katie regrouped amid horrible personal and medical times, finding the loving way through some awful circumstances.  A place were she relied on friends and family to help her through when having a bad day.  A place where she often helped us all, whether via email, phone or in person, on our difficult paths, rising beyond her own struggles to assist us.  A place where she learned to live more in the moment and appreciate life.  A place where her attitude and constitution, infectiously altered all of us for the better.

So many memories here, and you feel afraid that they will now be lost.  In a way we are losing the place that was Katie for a time, but we must, and can, still carry her in our hearts.  She lived and influenced us from many great homes.  Growing up in Huntington Woods, semester in London, college in Madison, Chicago, Royal Oak, Ypsilanti, Chattanooga, and back home to Huntington Woods.  A lifetime of memories.

We say goodbye to 13116 Borgman, Katie’s house, but will always remember the times there with our Katie K.

Peace and love to you all.

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  1. ashby…..i am so happy that you share all these wonderful things with us. i never had the pleasure of meeting katie but i feel like i know her through your warm and wonderful stories. i wish i could have been there to celebrate her life and remember all the special times you had with her. your ability to remind us of her life is the very best gift you can give to her.


  2. Oh Ashby. What a beautiful post. Thank you so much for everything. You’ve been our rock!
    I finally figured out how to do this Facebook thing. Deb explained it to me this morning.


  3. What a wonderful post, Ashby. You really distilled the inner truth, the love that lives on in each of us.


  4. Ashby, your posts are so perfect in how they capture the mood, the heart and the love of these special nights at Katie’s house. You are such a good writer. It looks like it was another wonderful fire lit night. I am so glad I got to be a part of it last month. It’s hard to accept that in the end, a house is just a house and things are just things. However, this website feels like an eternal home for all of us to come to for a visit to Katie and Chuck, where we can share and remember. Thank you for that.


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