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celebrating the life of Patsy Ludwick

We did it – we celebrated the life of Patricia Jane Ludwick, who had ALS and died serenely on Saturday May 15 with the assistance of her doctor. God bless this country. 

0nce I got out of hospital, I thought I’d be fine to produce a simple gathering in the garden. But I was not fine, so Anne-Marie stepped in, did almost all the shopping and made banana bread, and Sue LePage prepared some of the treats. There was a lot of food, wine, beer. 

And talk. Because these are actors and designers we’re talking about here, seven theatre people who worked with Patsy in the early 70’s, a little after I met her in 1970. They were with the NDWT theatre company, touring the country with James Reaney’s “Donnellys” Trilogy, starring the magnificent Patsy and her partner at the time, the love of her life, Jerry Franken. 

So there were stories and stories and stories. We all spoke, and some read poems to and by Patsy, especially by, because she was a brilliant poet and could easily have been published, only she refused. Jay Bowen sang “I wave bye bye,” a haunting song, accompanied by Rick Gorrie on harmonica – and I wept yet again. We all marvelled that this stubborn actress with no money ended up with exactly the life she wanted – in a little house on Gabriola Island built by herself and friends, doing community work, volunteering, editing screenplays, writing poems, and becoming a Buddhist. She was a woman made of fire, so the fact that she turned nearly to air by the end was extraordinary. 

We gathered to celebrate her life, because that is what loved ones do. We needed to remember her together.

And she was there. I’d told her I was going to do this and she forbad it, not until Covid’s over, she said sternly, as was her wont. But we did it anyway. However, she showed us; it rained intermittently all afternoon — Patsy showing us her disapproval. All of us with at least one vaccination, we gathered in the kitchen until the sun came out, then we mopped off the chairs and went to the back garden, then came back in when the mosquitos came out. Patsy was thunder and light. And words. I’m sure she was there.

Now I’m blotto. There was a family crisis yesterday in the midst of my own health crisis, so it has been a tiring weekend. 

I miss you, Patsy. But oh, you had the most marvellous friends.



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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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