Friday, February 23, 2018

Open Space: In memory of Christine Archibald

July 11, 2017 by Aaron Stefik, contributing writer

I’ve sat myself down to write about my brush with the life of Christine Archibald on many occasions since her murder on June 3. This one I’m writing today, precisely a month after that day, comes by way of apology as much as in remembrance, although in one fashion at least it is fitting: the bright-eyed and ever-smiling Chrissy Archibald has been eulogized by family, by close friends, and by dozens of the Castlegar and Calgary citizens whom she touched in years of publicly invested social work in aid of the disenfranchised and substance-reliant.

Only now that most of them have found the time to say their piece does it seem nearing appropriate, if at all, that I, who knew her for but a few hours, should offer my own ramblings about her life.

This story originally appeared in our July 12, 2017 issue.

One humid summer evening on the Plein, beneath the gaze of one of a dozen statues of William the Silent that guarded The Hague, my father and I wandered down a cobbled street to join for dinner the young couple that was Tyler Ferguson and Christine Archibald. Chrissy was my father’s colleague’s sister; I was quickly glad of the excuse to meet her. She talked of her social work, her adventures together with her fiancé in Europe, and her hopes for days ahead. Anyone making account of the evening’s talk would have labelled her future a bright one, and I certainly did.

As our pints of the local beer wore away, the conversation somehow turned to children, and Chrissy clutched at Tyler’s hand momentarily, eyes distant as she said that she hoped that they too would have a family before much longer.

Little more than a week later, Archibald was gone, the first of seven to fall in the London Bridge terror attack.

It would be small of me to make anything meaningful for myself of this chance meeting with an altogether pure-hearted and evidently so unselfish woman whose life was cut brutally short. May it suffice to offer my sympathies to a family and to a world made darker without her presence.

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