Thursday, September 9, 2021

Saying Goodbye to One of Our Team

It was with a sad heart that I read about the recent death of author Pat Smith (Patricia B. Smith). Not only was she an accomplished author, she was a valued member of the Blood-Red Pencil blogging team due to the many insightful posts she wrote, as well as her kind and generous spirit. From the time she joined as a regular blogger, she fit into our little family of friends and colleagues. Most of us have never met in person, but we’ve forged bonds through the years that are deep and strong.

Such was the case with Pat.  

Patricia B. Smith

After she got sick and was in so much pain, she still managed to get her blog posts written almost every month. She still managed to respond to the rest of us in our times of need. And she still managed to support everyone with comments on our blog posts.

I was especially touched when she shared her kind spirit with me. We both had episodes of severe pain over the past few years, and if I shared my struggles with the team she never failed to respond with thoughts and prayers. At one point, we talked about praying for each other on a regular basis - something I’ve done with other friends who are experiencing great pain and facing death. We agreed that the only benefit that can come from suffering is to offer it up for someone else.

Once Pat's pain was relieved, all of us here at the Blood-Red Pencil cheered, hoping that meant that she'd recovered.

Sadly, that wasn’t the case.

When Pat announced a few months ago that her body was failing, and she was resigning from the Blood-Red Pencil team, we were glad that she didn’t leave our private Facebook group that is the Office for team members. There, she occasionally posted that she knew that she was dying, and she shared her plans for making the most of what was left of her life. Primarily that meant spending time with family and doing as much as she could to bring joy and peace to her life.  

In late July she posted the following on her Facebook page: 

“Hi, friends. I've been fighting hard and relying on your emotional support for the past 3 years since my diagnosis. I am now officially terminal, but we don't know exactly what my final date will be. Please just continue to pray for me, particularly for pain relief. 

“I am otherwise content. I will get to see my son and his family before I go, my two sisters as well, and we are trying to figure something out to get my daughter over from Finland to say goodbye. Thank you all for your friendship and love.”

That post brought tears to my eyes, but it also made me more appreciative of her indomitable spirit.

This quote from Kurt Vonnegut Jr that Pat shared on her Facebook page is an appropriate one to include here. “Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness.”

My impression of a woman I only met virtually and spiritually, is that she lived up to the message of that quote. She was steadfast. She was strong. She was sweet.

Patricia B. Smith

 Rest in peace, Pat.

 



Posted by Maryann Miller. Maryann has numerous credits as a columnist, novelist, screenwriter, and playwright. She also has an extensive background in editing. You can find out more about Maryann, her books, and her editing services on her Website and her Amazon Author Page read her Blog, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter. Her most recent book is a short-story collection, Beyond the Crack in the Sidewalk, released by Next Chapter Publishing and available as an ebook or paperback.

 


7 comments :

  1. Pat and I had a long, interesting conversation on Facebook's Messenger going back to June of 2019. We discussed just about everything from books, politics, religion, family, and current affairs. She was an intelligent, caring woman who left this earth way too early. She even asked to be my critique partner, and we did swap manuscripts. It was after our swap that her health started to decline due to spraying with Roundup her neighbor did to her blackberry crop. By the time she found out, she had ingested the poison, which led to her liver damage. I will miss our chats. I will miss her intelligence. I will miss her. I only hope she got to see her grandson before she died. Safe journey, Pat.

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    1. By the way, Maryann. You did her proud. Such a lovely tribute.

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    2. Thanks, Polly. I tried. :-) I share your anger over what caused Pat's illness. Shouldn't have happened.

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  2. Pat was a gracious and lovely person, and a real pleasure to work with. Apparently she was also a marvelous fireside storyteller (though she came up against writer's block when trying to set them down in print). We were discussing at one point, over emails and Messenger, how she might start to get her fiction stories recorded into some permanent form and transcribed. My heart aches that she never got that chance. She had so much more to share.

    Rest in peace, sweet lady.

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  3. Life is so precious and too often so fleeting. This is such a beautiful tribute, Maryann. I wish I had gotten to know her better. Like all of you, I hope she had the opportunity to see her son and grandson.

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  4. Thank you for the tribute to Pat. She was in inspiration with her work and her life and her refusal to give up. I didn't know her well, but was always impressed with her posts and touched by her interactions with our team of bloggers.

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  5. I'm glad that everyone found the tribute I wrote satisfactory. It's always so hard to do that in a balanced way.

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