Richmond couple takes in ailing minister

Updated: Sep. 4, 2018 at 7:19 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - On the side of a south Richmond road, tucked behind the trees, lies a quaint little house - and if the saying is true that "home is where the heart is," then Rita Callis' heart is inside of the second-floor bedroom.

That's the place she keeps all of the memories of her late husband, Charles.

"We were really, really blessed to find each other, we really were," Callis said. "Just as soon as I walk in and settle in, I just feel like he's with me, just that sense of being at home with him."

Callis has pancreatic cancer herself. She started making end-of-life arrangements for her husband while dealing with her own illness, knowing he would need additional care once she was gone.

"To get the budget lined up, I needed to get up under the mortgage that we had on the house and the monthly payments," she said.

After putting the house up for sale and getting her husband into a senior living facility, a tragic accident took place.

"He fell and twisted his spine."

He died at the hospital from heart failure.

"I had the ducks in a row and he had those ducks go flying off," she said. "It was just like him."

But what about the house that meant so much? Well, it wouldn't go far.

"We've just had this relationship since I was 11 years old, and I just love her so much," said Christine Hoffman.

Pastor Rita Callis was Hoffman's minister as a little girl, and that friendship grew even stronger when she attended Virginia Commonwealth University.

"I rented this house in my 20's, and it's always been my dream house, but then I grew up and learned what houses actually cost. I thought I would never be able to live in a house like this," Hoffman said.

When Hoffman married the love of her life, Barrett, Rita Callis was front and center. One day, Callis sent the Hoffmans an invite to her retirement party with a special note on the back. She asked if they would buy the home, but she didn't hear back right away.

"She didn't see it because she had put it on the refrigerator. When she went back to check the date, she saw it and said 'Oh my gosh, oh my gosh,'" Callis said.

Hoffman and her husband bought their dream home and made Callis an offer she couldn't have imagined in her wildest dreams.

"I don't even think we talked about it. We didn't talk about it. We both just came to the same conclusion that we thought, 'Great, let's just live here, the three of us together, and be roommates,' and so we proposed it to her and she loved it. Now here we are, the three of us, and George," Hoffman said.

To a widow with cancer that made all the difference in her life, Hoffman just wanted to say 'thank you' for this amazing act of kindness.

"To walk in and get this amazingly generous gift, it was really overwhelming," said Callis.

If the saying is true, this home is filled with more love than money can ever buy.

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