Monday, May 17, 2021

honouring and missing Patricia Jane Ludwick

So much to tell, it's hard to know where to begin. I will talk about the CNFC conference, which was a stunning success, tomorrow. Today I want to talk about Patsy.

Patricia Ludwick, whom I met at Halifax's Neptune Theatre in the summer of 1970, who became my housemate in Dead Man's Cove, who threw my 20th birthday there. Who remained a passionate friend and correspondent despite living eventually on the other side of the country. She and I started in the same place, tall, dark-haired, well-read, fiercely opinionated actresses in Toronto and Vancouver. I ended up a divorced writer, teacher, and editor with two kids in downtown Toronto. She ended up a single poet, editor, dramatist, and script doctor in a small house on Gabriola Island. We went in different directions but also the same direction. The bond, despite bumps, endured for 51 years. 

Patsy was diagnosed with ALS a few years ago. She died at 11 a.m. her time on Saturday May 15. 

For months before, she prepared in her serene Buddhist way. She talked and laughed at length with everyone who called, and there were many. She sent packages back to friends; I received two big envelopes with writing and photographs I'd sent her, of her and us but also of my kids - she was godmother to my son Sam. I looked at my Patsy file on this computer to find not just long personal emails between us but very long and intense edits she did of drafts of my books and essays, which would have been far poorer without her valuable input. The world is far poorer without Patsy in it.

On Saturday afternoon, I received this from the friends who were with her at the end. I share it with you because I want you to get a sense of who she was, of what we who knew her are missing now. 

Patsy died peacefully in her home this morning, and asked that we send the message below along to you after she was gone. Jane & Jessie


dear friends

 

this is just to say thank you for being my friends, through all the seasons of our 

lives, in so many places in this wondrous world, on the rollercoaster and the 

roundabouts, in all kinds of weather.

 

Friendships have supported me all the way to the end of this particular road,

lucky me! It’s a glorious spring day outside my little house that friends helped

me build, and friends are coming to see me off. 

 

if you would like to do something to honour our friendship, plant a tree  a tree

native to the place in which it is planted so it has a decent chance of surviving, 

and to continue to nourish the Earth with its marvellous gifts – photosynthesis! 

carbon sequestration! flowers, fruits, leaves, communication through mycelium, 

and such rooted presence. 

 

It’s easy to die 

just give your breath back

to the trees and the wind

 

I’ll be sending you loving kindness through all forms of life but no more emails!

 

patsy

 

from gabriola island in the Salish Sea, May 15, 2021


In "The Donnellys"
With Jerry Franken, the love of her life
I called her Tudwell, I no longer remember why, and she called me Bee. 

A photo I took on Chesterman Beach, Patsy with, of course, notebook. Loved and missed forever, dearest friend.

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