An extremely moving event yesterday: a Zoom memorial for Patsy Ludwick, who died with the help of MAID in May. We were almost 50 people from Australia to California – a great many from Nova Scotia, where she spent her early career, and B.C., from her later life. It was wonderful to see her brother and sisters at last – she was the eldest of 7, and many of her sibs were there, people I’d heard about for 50 years. Her sister Julie, a dancer who lives in New York, had put together a slide show of Patsy’s life from childhood to the end, reminding us of how spectacularly beautiful she was – sharp cheekbones, flashing eyes, regal stance.
One of her friends said, “She gave us a master class in how to live and how to die.”
Julie said, “She never gave up on wonder,” and told us that one year, Aunt Patsy gave Julie’s 15-year old son a membership in “The Cloud Appreciation Society.” “How many people even know there IS a cloud appreciation society, let alone give a membership?” she asked.
As one of the speakers I read an excerpt of a letter of hers to me, pulled at random from the hundreds I’ve kept on paper and online – so powerfully written. She was both a magnificent actor and a magnificent writer. And friend too. And aunt.
She would have been overjoyed to see so many beloved faces, including a friend from when she was two, all the way to her caregiver in her last days on Gabriola. Jane Heyman, who organized and stage managed the event, was with her as Patsy died and was buried the next day. Throughout the green burial, she said, an eagle sat on a nearby tree, watching. It gave a cry at the beginning and at the end of the ceremony, and then flew away. Patsy always made sure things were done correctly.
Here’s another kind of gathering: Ben’s birthday. He asked as his special birthday treat for McDonald’s, so the usual cavalcade of children enjoyed the treat. And Ben with a small friend.