Dear reader, since publishing this only Wednesday– it is with heavy sorrow that I update you with the news of Abby's passing to the other side on Sunday, the morning 03/13/22.

I made edits to include images found on Richard's website and blog.

As you read, I encourage you to meditate on Abby, remembering her as compassionate, and fiercely empathetic –or if you didn't have the pleasure of knowing her, of someone in your own life who is just as, with hopes you can get a glimpse of the legacy lived and left behind by Abby Shofner Milligan Barron. 

One for the Ages, a piece of Richard and Abby's love story.

 Photo by Mackenzee E. Crosby.                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Richard and Abby held hands during minutes of shared nostalgia, and reflections of their love for one another. Taken in 2019.

A close friend confided in me earlier this week bearing gut wrenching news that his wife, Abby, was to be put on Hospice care. She has been in an assisted living home for a few months now after battling with her health, weakening both her mind and body, and is not expected to make it to see next week. 

Richard has told me time and time again just how much he loves being married, and his adoration for his bride is unmatched. I have witnessed first hand  the care he treats her with. He visits her almost daily, even as she lost her ability to communicate her affections for him. Truthfully, their love is one for the ages, and it will live on through him after she is gone. Here I recall an interview with Abby and Richard in their home . . .not quite 2.5 years ago, before the impending and novel Covid-19 pandemic.

Richard looked at her, "The first picture I ever took of you, I still have it on file, and you’re wearing that gorgeous high neck victorian looking blouse,

"and I had my hair put up," Abby replied.

- She looked really pretty that day. Circumstances kind of put us together.. and after a while Abby got tired of me not asking her out, so she asked me out."

"No," Abby retorted, "You asked me if I wanted to do something and I said ‘well let's just go out and have some fun.' One reason, is that he is younger than me by 13 years. I kept telling him he didn’t want to marry an old woman, but he did."

He began with the story of their first date, "She broke my car–well, I had washed my car earlier that day and I guess some water had gotten down inside the door and the lock froze shut. We went to dinner at Papa Gjorgio's, then we went over to the house that I was thinking about buying–but didn’t buy–over on 17th street. We sat in front of the gas fire there for about an hour and we just held hands and made eyes at each other and talked and talked," Both of them lit up in recollection.

Then I don’t think we ever looked back," and they didn't. 

Above, left: Abby is pictured wearing the aforementioned blouse.                                                Above, right: from Richard's, The Winding Road.                                                                                            

Through the years they have shared laughter, sorrow, and plenty of joy to make up for the sorrow. Memories were made on their many trips to New Mexico, Arches National Park (where they traded wedding vows,) and other landmark destinations . . . side by side, both with a camera in hand. 

Abby too had a knack for photography. They have books, stacked on books . . . and stacked on more books full of photographs from the years  of their traveling together. Ample evidence of this can be seen on his website.  

"Flash forward to October, 2004," he started again. 

"We drove out to Utah and got married at Delicate Arch at Arches National Park, under the arch. There's this little teeny town that's super crazy dog friendly, called Madrid. It's full of art galleries, shops...and she has two leather vests that she bought there a couple times ago." He goes on,  "and there’s a really dog friendly restaurant right on the corner called ‘The Holler.’ They are so dog friendly they bring you a bowl, a water and a dog menu. That’s one of our places. 

The last time, after a couple days in Albuquerque, we drove on to Pagosa Springs. We had a nice time before coming back down to Santa Fe,"

Abby proceeded, "The people at work, of course, they wanted to know how my date was and–It was actually a lot better than I wanted it to be–because at that point I had dated few men and, huh uh. None of them were right, for many reasons. But then it just clicked, you see, I lost my first husband to cancer when he was 42. We were going to buy a home to put here where this one is, but he only lived about two and a half months after his diagnosis. I didn’t think I would ever love anyone again . . .

I was very blessed, twice," finishing in confidence.

The three images above, and the one below were retrieved from Richard's blog, where you can read more about their lives, together.

In memory of Abby Shofner Milligan Barron

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