AHA has lost a valued friend
November 16, 2010 Patricia Harding (PatM) died peacefully in the hospital
after many health struggles. Miss Pat, the nickname many close friends
called her, was a very active member of A Happy Assembly. Not only was
she a beloved author who shared her talents with us (see stories listed
to the right) but she was kind, giving and loving to all the other authors
by leaving wonderful, insightful comments and encouragement.
In Miss Pat's own words here is her short biography "I have one daughter, one granddaughter, and one great granddaughter. My cat is female too! In addition to loving my girls, I love Colin Firth, P&P, JAFF (both reading and writing), and my laptop."
Our Members Speak
From thousands of miles away, I am struggling to put in a few poor words the loss of a wonderful person, a most beloved friend. For a few years, I have been so fortunate to have Pat's friendship, one of the most precious gifts I got from the JAFF world.
I never actually met Pat face to face and we only spoke a few times. But we wrote to each other a lot and very often; and, despite the huge distance, I felt very close to Pat. I was very close to Pat. Each time we communicated, I could "see" her smile, I could feel her warmth, her joy, her liveliness, her love for life and for everything that was beautiful. Not even the painfull ilness which burdened her body during the last months could vanish the smile from her face and break her spirit.
Pat loved to read and to write JA fanfiction and she loved to share her love with others; she loved to know people enjoyed her writing. I am so sad and pained that she had no time to send me her published book, with her signature on it. She said she would send it to me as a Christmas gift. I never imagined time would become our enemy in only a week ...
Pat loved purple, she loved romance, she loved life, she loved ... love. Her heart, full of love and tired from struggle, just stopped a day ago . . I know, dear Pat, that you would not want us to be sad. But I am ...Forgive me, dearest Pat, that I cannot smile right now, not even when I see you smiling from the pictures. But I promise I will, soon ...
Your picture will always be near my family's and your memory will always be alive in my heart. And the decorations in my Christmas tree will be purple this year ... Rest in peace, my Beloved Pat.
Pat was a dear friend and it warms my heart to see how many people in this community loved her and will remember her fondly. She will be deeply deeply missed. Thank you to the ladies that helped her to publish "Beloved." She wanted so much to see her writing in print, she told me once that she wanted that legacy because she had never had anything like that before that would be her very own like her writing was. The last time I saw her, we were at her house and she was showing me the possible covers that were being designed and I was just so proud for her and touched by the excitement in her eyes. You could not have picked a more worthy woman on which to bestow your kindness and generosity.
I am sorry for rambling, it is just that I am going to miss this woman and her feisty, sweet, sincere, and downright funny comments, phone calls, and emails. Oh that I had known the last time I hugged her would have been the very last--I might have held on a little tighter. So many people loved her because she was just so remarkably honest and kind, yet she never shied away from speaking her mind. Though age separated us by nearly 50 years, she never once placed the ocean of time between us. She listened when I needed to talk, and trusted me when she needed to talk as well. She often said she didn't want to be treated like an "old lady" because she didn't feel like an old lady--and I never saw her that way. To me, she was just my friend. I'm sorry for myself that I have to let her go, but as she was struggling to maintain her independence and was facing the truth that she would probably never be able to leave her house without the aid of another person, I take comfort that she is no longer suffering or sad or even uncomfortable.
She left us peacefully, as was only right. May we all be thankful for that.
~ Love, Casey
Pat was such a very dear friend to me. She was a second mother, in some ways a first mother, but one who I could talk to about anything, from children, to pets, to the horrors of writing HMS. We shared stories of our families, and our deepest secrets. She was always honest with me, bucked me up when I needed it, yelled at me when I needed it, and I was always glad to do the same for her. We shared so many opinions about our stories, our worries, everything . . . well except our choice of Darcy, but then friends can't agree about everything, can they? She made me laugh, and she made me feel good. I am proud to have known her and so wish that I had hugged her just once. As much as I will miss her, I am happy for her to find peace at last.
I love you dear Pat, and I'm so very glad that I told you.
~ Linda (booknut)
I have lost my friend and confidant. I could tell her anything without the worry of ever hearing it again, and I know that she trusted me the same way.
We talked so many times over the few years of our friendship, but we did not allow the fact that we had only known each other for a few years, to stand in the way of our friendship. It was just great to be able to roll over and dial her number and hear her voice as we talked for the longest time.
She understood many of the problems I faced on a daily basis and was always ready to listen, as I ranted, and offer advice and stories as I calmed down. No matter what we discussed, even if it was just silliness, as it often was, she always ended our conversations with "I love you", and I knew she meant it. She had expressed her desire that after retirement, I would move to Georgia to be near her. I had even begun to think seriously about it. But, that was not the plan of the Master.
During the last few conversations, she had expressed her desire to go, because she was tired and it was just too hard to make it through the day. I had ranted and raged at that with her, but later had to go back and tell her that if that was what she wanted, then it was also what I wanted. I am not so sure how truthful I was being, but I said it because I knew I needed to say it for her.
I miss my friend! I love her and the richness she brought to my life! REST IN PEACE, MY LOVELY FRIEND! I WILL MISS YOU FOREVER!
My Dearest Pat,
If I had known Saturday was our last time together there is so much I would have wanted to say. I love you so much and will miss you every day until I see you again. Thank you for being such a special force in my life. Although we only knew each other for several years, I feel as though we had been friends forever. We shared so many secrets, laughed until our sides couldn't take it any longer. We cried and more often than not just enjoyed talking about nothing and I'm lost wondering what will I do without you? All the nights I spent with you after GGR gatherings and the hours we spent talking about the old and current stories were the best times. A secret I must confess is that the entire time we argued over your next story, I was secretly excited to read it, no matter what I said as it was more fun to tease you. You were such an amazing lady to me and really everyone who met you either in person or online. Pat you would so love to see all the wonderful things people have written about you and how many lives you touched.
Casey, Theresa and I have cried so many tears since Tuesday morning but we have also shared our favorite memories of you and while there are way too many to talk to you about here just know each day they will live on with us. Michael reminded me of the time you called to ask how to make your emails preview so you could see them off to the right and after what seemed way too long we gave up and came over to help you. On the way home he said, "Mom now I know why you love her so much, she's amazing" and all I could say is absolutely.
I have no doubt that you are in heaven and spending time with your mom and dad but know you enough to know looking after Colin will be a pretty big priority. Now don't go embarrassing all of us by getting fired as his guardian angel for doing all the naughty things you said you wanted to do because I'm sure none of them are on the angel job duties list (although I'm sure peeking is totally acceptable). Hmmm perhaps in your spare time maybe you could spend some time with our "friend" Lady Catherine and help her practice how not to be the evilness that she is.
You know I don't have the talent you had for putting things into words but want you know what you meant to me. You are and always will be to me my special mom, the funny aunt, my favorite dirty old woman, my confidant, and simply my dear friend.
As much as I want you here with me right now, I'm thankful for where you are and that you are now whole again which means, looks out heaven here she comes.
~ All my love, Lorie (mr darcy fan)
"I am one of the lucky ones who had the privilege of meeting Pat and becoming friends, best friends. It would be easy to say something profound about Pat for her greatness was easily recognized, but she'd just laugh at me and say "you don't have to say that"; so, I'll just say in the simplest of ways I can, Pat was one of the best people I've ever know. She welcomed me as is and gave me such comfort. I lost my mother several years ago, and Pat knew immediately that I needed mothering, she was just like that. I will always treasure her loyalty, kindness and generous nature. I will continue to honor her friendship till I meet her again. I will carry on our devotion to everything Colin and our Mr. Darcy, our shared opinion of the Colonel and our unbending Darcy and Lizzy happy endings. I too would also like to thank those of you that helped with her book. I can't find the words to describe the joy your actions brought her. I truly believe that is one of the reasons she stayed with us as long as she did. I will be forever grateful to you all.
I am thankful I saw her before she passed and thank God that she didn't suffer at the end. Death to Pat will be her next great adventure! A piece of my heart goes with you dear one."