Barbara Burgess was the face of Shepherd’s Gate for over 15 years. Her smile was usually what people first saw when they came here, and her friendliness towards all those who came through the doors led people back to us time and again. We had donors call just before bringing a donation to make sure Barbara was going to be at the desk. If, by chance, she was away on one of her “jaunts,” they would ask when she was returning so that they could bring their donation when she was going to be here!! I dealt with a few kindly, indignant donors who didn’t call first and found me at the desk instead of their friend. I always dreaded those encounters because they were really upset by my presence in her office space!
Now don’t get me wrong, Barbara wasn’t always smiling. If she thought you were wrong about something, she would, in her own way, let you know it! We nicknamed her Barney Fife because she could find out anything; she was an unrivaled detective. No matter how hard the women tried to pull something over on her, she could still find out what was happening—AND THEY WERE AMAZED!! She had an ID card that she carried with Barney Fife’s picture on it. It was the ID the EMS found when they went to her house on January 10, 2015 (her 75th birthday) to take her on, what would be, her final ride in an ambulance. To say the least, they were a bit confused by their find :-)!!!
Barbara knew much about all of the staff here and was always so interested in our lives. We tend to be a chatty group, but it is sad to say, we knew very little about her. She was an extremely private person, and even if you tried to press her for information, you came away empty. I do know this about Barbara Burgess. She loved Miracle Hill/Shepherd’s Gate and the ladies that we serve. She loved the Lord, and I know she would have loved how God chose to take her Home. If she could have written the script, she would have gone exactly as God chose to do it!!!!
Barbara went to the hospital on a Saturday and had a few tests done. On Monday, they did another MRI and found cancer. The Oncologist came on Tuesday evening and told her that the rapidly growing cancer in her liver and lungs would not allow her to ever leave the hospital. She was able to see family, make and receive amends, and by Thursday–she was in hospice care without any pain. Friday morning–she was home in Heaven!! How amazing is that?!!!!! Quick and done–just as she would have wanted it!
The staff here at Shepherd’s Gate are trying to take time to grieve our friend. There is a hole here that cannot be filled, and the tears often seem to come out of nowhere. We have an new receptionist at the desk. Kim was carefully chosen and is fantastic; however, she is not Barbara–nor is she trying to be Barbara. Kim will carve out her own place in Shepherd’s Gate history while Barbara runs through Heaven with family, friends and her Heavenly Father. She is happy and at peace—just as she should be!