The Flowering Teapot

My dear friend, Barb, recently passed way after a three-year battle with lung cancer.

One day, before the holidays in 2019, I was visiting with her and we were talking about gifts we had bought and for whom.  She shared that she bought her daughter a Flowering Teapot and showed me a photo online.  It was super cool and said I need to get one of those.  Of course, I never did.  I forgot about it.

Here is where the story gets interesting.

During COVID-19, I offered to do mini workshops by Zooming in, to spread JOY for organizations serving children and families.  I did one for a public-school district in Colorado.
A few weeks after the workshop and a few weeks after Barb passed, an Amazon box arrived.

When my daughter opened this box it was a Flowering Teapot.  I immediately became confused, like Barb sent it to me.  I may have even said “oh my gosh, Barb.”  Then I came back to reality that Barb was no longer in this world.  The Flowering Teapot was a thank you from the school district.

Of all the things to send someone.  A gorgeous Flowering Teapot.

I don’t really believe in coincidences.  I believe in serendipity.  In magic.  In many ways to connect.

Thank you, Barb.  Thank you, colleagues in Colorado.  Thank you to the powers beyond us.

This past weekend I did one of the hardest things I have ever done and spoke at Barb’s service.  I have spoken for thousands and thousands of people in all different venues but this one I could barely get through.  Grief is tough.  But so are we.

I want to be more like Barb so I am sharing my tribute to her with you.

Today, I enjoyed a cup a tea on my porch thinking of my friend.

Since Barb was the first person I walked a labyrinth with, I dedicated the labyrinth on my lavender farm, Big Roots, to her.

barbplaque1

With gratitude, Erin

June 27, 2020

Barb was one of the special ones.

By Erin Ramsey

I met Barb years ago when she joined the Board of the organization I was running. I liked her authenticity and respectful ways immediately.

The thing I remember most, before we became close friends, was a moment with her in a hallway at French Lick during a work retreat we were hosting.  We were discussing the speaker and talking about well-being.  I told her that I didn’t know how I felt about anything.  She nodded.

I remember thinking, how odd it was for me to tell someone in a work setting something I would not normally share.

In hindsight, it makes perfect sense.

She was pure magic in making space for people.

Time and time again, I have seen people meet her for the first time and immediately connect with her and trust her.  Here is a note I received from a mutual friend’s daughter in her twenties who met Barb a few times,

Barb was one of the only voices that got through to me when I was struggling with whether to separate myself from the bad energy and people in my life.  She told me to choose kindness in a cruel world.  I have never forgotten that.  It was one conversation, but I loved her it for it.  For seeing something in me that I couldn’t see in myself.

This is one of countless stories of how Barb’s connection and caring made this world a better place.

Barb was straight forward-with a genuine softness,-a rare combination.
When she would lead with saying,

This is what I am going to say to you…

Our friends and me knew a Barb Truth Bomb was getting ready to land.  Sometimes we would laugh and sometimes we were like a deer in headlights, but we never ignored her words of wisdom and truth.
Barb’s daughter recently endearingly referred to her mom as having ferocity- yes she was fierce- with the feminine spirit and a frankness that radiated good intent and courageous honesty.  She spoke the truth in a way people were willing to listen.

She was so beautiful. I would be remiss not to mention her fabulous outfits, adorable handbags and gorgeous home-she knew how to embrace the finer things without pretention-she was classy, she was hospitable-she was a shining light by the beauty she created and the beauty she carried within.

Barb adored her family. To her children and grandchildren, I feel like I know you even if I have never met some of you because Barb shared her love of you with me every time we were together.  She was so proud of all of you-you were her world.
You were her number ones, her everything.

Barb was a social justice and equity advocate in her career and in her life.  She served people, empowered people and advocated for people.  Not some people, ALL people.  No contingencies.  She walked in her faith.  She was the real deal as a devoted Christian.  She helped people grow and heal with her inclusive heart.
Barb was one of the special ones.

She showed up for life and never stopped learning.  She was self-aware and reflective.  She was curious and willing to explore new ideas, approaches to life and perspectives.  She had integrity, a strong moral compass and boundaries but they never closed her off; she always worked to keep an open mind and an open heart.

I could tell stories for hours but instead I will summarize what I think we can carry with us as we honor Barb’s life.
Let’s make more space for others.
Let’s be courageously honest with good intent and kindness.
Let’s do things to make this world a more beautiful place.

Let’s put our families first with action and admiration.

Let’s be a voice for ALL people.
Let’s show up for life and never stop learning and growing.

I will end with this excerpt from a prayer that Barb based a sermon on in this sanctuary a few years ago that I think sums up her spirit:

“O God, release us from our fears and failures to trust your love and live with bold generosity.”

Barb was boldly generous.
Barb was one of the special ones.