An open letter to the new owners of my house

To the New Owners of My House

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Dear new home owners,

Congratulations on your new home!

I know that this is an exciting time for you and that you are eager to make this house your own, but I thought that maybe if you knew a bit about it (and the people that have called it home), it would become more than just four walls, a roof, and a mortgage.

My mother and father in law bought this empty lot in 2007. The goal was to build a spec home. In 2008, my father in law and my husband (who was not yet my husband) designed this house and began construction. They built it themselves; every board, every nail, every shingle and every last finishing detail, all while working other jobs. In early May of 2009, as it neared completion, they listed it or sale.

On Thursday, May 14, 2009, my husband was the passenger in a terrible car accident. He was ejected from a vehicle that rolled off a cliff, which left him in hospital with a skull fracture, brain bleed, broken sternum, 3 broken ribs, a collapsed lung, and 3 shattered vertebrae. On July 1, a month and a half after the accident, he came home to this house from GF Strong in Vancouver as a T4 paraplegic. He was 23.

520-8479My mother and father in law took this house off the market right after the accident. The stress of the accident and my husband being in hospital out of town while trying to sell a house was too much. And being that this house doesn’t have any stairs, it was a good place for a wheelchair. This is where the history that ties us so strongly to this house and makes it so hard to leave really begins.

This was the last house my husband would ever physically build. It was this front door that the police knocked on to tell my father in law that there had been an accident. It was this house that we all met at, waiting to hear if my husband had made it through that first critical night. It was this house that my husband came home to after a month and a half in hospital and rehab. It was here that he learned how to navigate life in a wheelchair, and once again found his independence.

It was here that he healed; that we all healed.

I officially moved in in 2012 and my husband became a first time home owner when he bought this house from his parents in 2013.

This house became the gathering spot for all our friends, many of which are in wheelchairs. It has seen many birthday parties, many nights gathered on the patio around the fire pit and it’s where we hosted our first Thanksgiving and Christmas. This is the house where we got engaged and our friends and families threw us a surprise engagement party. Where I spent countless hours with text books and study notes spread out all over the bar as I worked my way through nursing school and my husband spent countless hours at his computer at the same bar, designing houses as he worked his way through becoming a draftsman. It’s where I had my entire class over the night we graduated to celebrate finally being done! This house is where my sister came to tell us she was finally pregnant after what seemed like an eternity of trying. It’s where we brought our first family addition, our Yorkie Charlie, home after years of me begging my husband for a dog. Most recently, it’s where we came home to on our wedding night as Mr and Mrs.

This house has seen a lot of living and a lot of growing; a lot of love and a lot of heartache. It has been our safe place to land and has been filled to the brim with memories of families, friends, tears, and laughter. These are the things that make a house a home.

20151001_172501As you are standing here reading this, I know that our home is now your house and I hope that it quickly becomes your home too. I hope you fill it was as many memories as we did. I hope that you grow to love it so much that when it comes time for you to move on, as it has for us, you’ll have as hard a time leaving as we did.

Welcome home.

Sincerely,

The Baxters

 

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