Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Patrice McInnis: Valentine's Tribute

It's all for OUR dogs...

Our goal: To find a producer or celeb or anyone who will help make Piper's Someday (the book River stars in) into a movie.

Year 2 of Forever

Here's how the story begins: (start here if you are new)


My friend, Patrice, died last night of pancreatic cancer. She was diagnosed in August of 2010. At 50, she leaves behind two children and a legacy of love and a gaggle of friends who were drawn too her like a moth to a flame. We speculated that she weighed about 75 pounds and had hung on without water or food for over eight days while in hospice. Her yoga and verve for life and music and her staunch loyalty to her family kept her heart going long after the hospice nurses thought she would have gone. My guess. My guess only.

Those of you who have been touched by too-early-a-death of a loved one know the veracity and variety of emotions - all at once, then sometimes, nothing at all. Just empty space. Pregnant and empty.

I was in bed asleep last night on Valentine's Eve while Patrice was taking her last breaths. I did not hear the phone ring when my sister called and then she texted me the news - I saw it this morning while I was backing out of the driveway to go to work.

I burst into tears. Elated that her long arduous journey was finally at a close. Grievous to the point of being out of breath at the fact I would never see her again.

But, Patrice teaches me like good friends do. She, even in this moment, is only a little above all of those who knew her and loved her. Her awareness thick and alive and floating into the ether with her mother, Ethyl, and her brother that died as a teenager, Billy. All three of them - all together again.

Families like to stay together...

Patrice loved my dog, River. Even though she was allergic to her, she still cackled at River's shenanigans and was always asking her to "quit licking me!" River loved to antagonize Patrice with unwanted licks and was forever being too close to her. I can see Patrice picking off dog hair even as I write this. However, when she (River) had her surgery to remove her leg last year (and while Patrice herself was going in for chemotherapy), Patrice called me and checked in on us both to see how we were doing. She believed in River and in River's dream.

On a personal note...two years ago, when I had shattered my ankle and lay in my bed day in and day out in intense pain, Patrice came over on many occasions brought me lunch, made me do yoga stretches in the bed, and then wheeled me in the wheelchair out into the January sun. I can still hear her voice. That New England clip.

"Get outta the bed and I'm going to roll you outside. Come on! Ruth, you need some fresh air," Patrice calmly barked the loving order. She did that to a lot of us.

People leave all kinds of legacies. Patrice did, too.

On this particular heavy Valentine's Day, I'd have to just say that Patrice McInnis left us all a little happier in this world than when we all came into it - just because she existed.
She was kind, she showed up, she helped children and she loved good music and talks about sexy men and sexy everything. A complete crack up.

Go, Patrice, Go!

Here is a picture of Patrice taken when I got my first book published: She's the blond in front over to the right with the faded jeans on and the white sweater. (Third from the right).

River and I both send our love to your family and friends.


  1. I feel your sadness and desolation. It makes me sad. You are blessed to have had her touch your life.
    Big hugs, Jeanne

  2. so sorry for the loss of your friend...
    she would have been proud of the things you wrote about her, like you're proud now to have had the privilege knowing her.
    I'm sure every time you think of her, she'll make you smile...warm-hearted, caring people do that to each other, although the loss hurts like hell...