From tragedy to healing: Couple copes with grief by helping others | Ha-Shilth-Sa Newspaper

From tragedy to healing: Couple copes with grief by helping others

Port Alberni, BC

It has only been eight months since the tragic loss of their only son, but a Tseshaht couple has found a way to cope: by inviting guests to their newly opened bed and breakfast beside the river.

Don and Linda Pelech were given a beautiful piece of property on the edge of Somass River by her grandfather in the late 1980s. They bought a 1978 single-wide trailer for $5,000 which would serve as their home until Don could build their new home.

“It was the best $5,000 we ever spent,” he said.

In the late 1990s the couple began working their property, building a home, chicken coop, smokehouse and doing the landscaping. They created a beautiful home, overlooking the river near Papermill Dam.

“We’ve always known this is a special place,” said Don.

When the couple moved into their newly-built home next door, they had to decide what to do with the old trailer.

“People told us we should rent it out,” said Don, but the thought wasn’t appealing to the couple.

Instead, they decided they would renovate it for their son, Brandon, and his toddler son, so that they could be close.

“It probably should have been a tear-down,” said Don with a chuckle.

The only thing left of the old trailer is the roof and part of the floor. They doubled its size by building an addition. The work started in May 2020 and they were nearly finished when they received the devastating news that their son had died.

Don stopped working on the renovations for four months as he grieved the loss of Brandon. They had to decide what to do with the trailer.

“What are we going to do?” Linda asked.

A registered clinical counsellor, Linda offers services like restorative yoga, hot stone massage and reiki, with healing practices from her Indigenous culture.

“I have worked with residential school survivors and trauma. I (intend) to walk beside you in your journey,” says her brochure.

In 2017 Linda launched her business called Ener-Chi Holistic Healing which she operates on the property.

The couple wanted the trailer to be used as something to do with wellness and healing. They went with the idea of making it a bed and breakfast with the focus on Indigenous culture.

“This is a relaxed setting,” said Linda. “People can come her to unplug, relax and unwind.”

Located next to the river, guests can go swimming, pick berries or fish for salmon. The previous guests loved watching the Tseshaht fishing for home-use salmon a few days earlier.

The Raven’s River Rest B&B has the feel of a ranch-style home with two bedrooms, kitchen, dining room and a living room. Linda says they want it to be appealing to families and can comfortably house four people. Also, it is pet-friendly.

“People have gotten more attached to their pets since the pandemic began, so we want their pets to feel welcome here too,” said Linda.

Surrounded by trees and berry bushes, the property is peaceful, with the sounds of the river and birdsong all around.

The interior has a new feel and is tastefully decorated with splashes of Indigenous décor. The couple hired a Tseshaht housekeeper and another Indigenous person to do the landscaping. They will be adding a display case to showcase Indigenous art.

Guests may opt for added services that Linda offers, like yoga or reiki, or even take part in Oosimch (spiritual bathing).

The Raven’s River Rest is already popular and is booked up until mid-September.

The raven, Linda said, is her family crest and that is why it was chosen as the name for the new B&B. She offers to share her cultural teaching with their guests.

While sad that their son never got to live in the space, Don and Linda are pleased to share it with others.

“It feels good to see people so happy here; I’ve always known this place is a little piece of heaven,” said Don.

The Pelechs are looking forward to the next chapter in life.

For more information visit or call 250-242-0114. Bookings can be made at

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