Tribute to Patricia Fillingham by Chris Robbins

Photo by Bill Perrault

I was shocked, saddened and devastated to hear the news of our friend Patricia Fillingham's passing. She was a dear gracious friend to me, and to all of us. When she walked into the room, we knew our venue was graced with the presence of one of God's angels. She was often called the "spitfire" of Stone Soup because she spoke out strongly against sexist tyranny in her poems, but she always made her points with compassion and class. When she and I embraced, I felt loved and accepted, like I was really worthy of being here. Sometimes, when one of my bad jokes got out of hand, she let me know it, but she still loved me just the same.

I visited her house a couple of times. One of these visits was when she had a Valentine's Day party. She taught me how to make a wassail bowl, (even though the alcohol in it was a bit too much for me) and she introduced me to new foods (such as chicken covered in mango sauce). You could say that we were the Harold and Maude of Stone Soup Poets. True, we were "just good friends," but this friendship was more enriching than any intimate encounter could ever be.

I miss Patricia terribly, and I will always love her. In one of her poems, Patricia stated that her late husband may have already found another partner in the afterlife, and she may be lonely on the other side. I hope that doesn't ring true, and that she is now happy with her husband. But if the aforementioned prophecy does ring true, I will be there for her when it is my time to cross over.

God gave us, the Stone Soup Poets, a wonderful, compassionate friend when He gave us Patricia. But now that her time on Earth is over, we have to face the heartbreaking truth. Even though it hurts to let her go, we must now give her back to Heaven. Just remember that her spirit will always be with us at Stone Soup.