Several weeks ago (August 11th to be exact), I wrote about an AMAZING WOMAN who was battling cancer.

If you saw that original post, entitled I Believe She’s AMAZING, you will know that her daughter, Collette, is one of the Chicks – and that Eva came over for a few hours of Chick Time on the day I wrote that blog.

That visit with Bonnie, Collette, and I was the last time she ever left her house.

In Eva Lanctot’s own words, she “fought the good fight.”  Sadly, she lost that fight on the morning of Monday, August 22nd.

I use the word “sadly” to describe how the rest of us feel about no longer having this dynamic and vibrant personality walking among us. She, on the other hand, was not sad.

Don’t get me wrong – she would have preferred to have more time! However, Eva was grateful to have been given several months in which to reflect on her life and spiritual convictions, wrap up all her business and personal affairs,  and most importantly, to let those around her know how she felt about them.

I tell you this to help you understand how vitally important it is to let people know what you like/love/admire/respect about them – while you still can.

I was fortunate enough to have been able to say those things to Eva before it was too late. I had learned that lesson the hard way a few months before…

It was mid-February, and I was in Toronto visiting my Mom. She received a call from a neighbourhood church letting her know that one of its members had passed away.

Shockingly, I recognized the name. Not only did I recognize the name, but I realized I had gone to school with this woman. She was my age, and now she had been taken by cancer. She left behind her husband, Albert (her high school sweetheart) and their three daughters, Valerie, Nicole, and Michelle.

I hadn’t seen or talked to Patricia Anne Conforzi for decades – so why, besides feeling badly for her husband and children, was I so upset?

Yes, I will admit it was unnerving to come face-to-face with the reality of my own mortality, but that wasn’t the only reason I couldn’t seem to get her out of my mind.

Over the next few weeks, I found myself thinking back to the teenager I had known as Patty Malo.

I remembered her as a cheerful, friendly young woman. We had been in several classes together during our high school years and I could clearly recall her warm smile – and the way she always had a kind word for anyone she spoke to.

That was it! That’s what had been trying to surface to the forefront of my brain.

In all the years I’d known her, I had never once heard her say a mean word to, or about, anyone. Not once.

The more I thought about her, the more I realized I had always liked and respected her for that – but I had NEVER TOLD HER.

So, in HONOUR of Patty Malo (Patricia Anne Conforzi), I made a list of all the people I love and respect who are still here.

I picked up a big stack of cards – the kind with a pretty picture on the front and lots of blank writing space on the inside – and began to write to everyone on my list.

Each card starts with the words, “The world is a better place because you are here.” I tell the person what I admire most about him or her and all the things I love about that person.

As of today, I’m about halfway through that stack of cards and two-thirds of the way through my list of names.

Is there someone YOU want to reach out to? Are there things you want to SAY?

Feel free to use my idea or come up with your own version.  If writing isn’t your thing, just pick up the phone or drop by for coffee.

Whether this person is an AMAZING WOMAN or an AMAZING MAN – it is the words left unsaid that you may live to regret.

Talk soon.




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4 responses to “TELL Her She’s AMAZING

  1. Valerie

    Hi Colleen.

    I decided to type my mom’s name into google and came across your blog. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on my mom. She was exactly how you described her, bubbly, happy, full of energy and truly kind to others. A good way to be I think. This past friday marked 7 months since we lost her. Thank you again.
    Take care,


    • Dear Valerie,

      Thank you so much for letting me know you saw this. I am truly touched.

      Although I no longer have the chance to tell your mom how much I admired her, I hope it is of some comfort for you to know that she is certainly not forgotten. There is no doubt in my mind that she is warmly remembered by more people than you may even be aware. She lives on in the hearts of all those who knew and loved her.

      My sincere condolences to you, your sisters, your dad, and everyone else fortunate enough to have known your mom.

      Colleen Kleven (nee Bingham)

  2. Dear Colleen,

    Just like Valerie, I Googled my good friend, Pat’s name. I did know Pat very well as she was a beloved member of a craft group we shared with 8 other women. Pat was deeply loved and respected and is still today sadly missed. She was tragically taken and it happened so fast we did not have time to process the devastation that happened to her. Pat was adored by all in her church and testimony to that was that there was standing room only at the funeral. So much outpouring of love for a truly remarkable lady. I will miss her always.

    Thank you for your sage advice about letting our friends and loved ones know how we feel while there is still time – a thoughtful piece of writing indeed.

    In Pat’s memory,
    Judith Somersett

    • Thank you for your kind words, Judith.

      I am pleased to know that Patty’s gentleness of spirit lives on in the memories of all those who were fortunate enough to know her.

      Here’s to telling all the special people in our lives exactly what we think of them!


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