RIP: Pat Conroy

Credit: Cassandra King

Credit: Cassandra King

Pat Conroy was one of my most favorite authors.  He gave voice to everyone who ever experienced abuse.  Sadly, he passed away on March 4, 2016.  His widow, Cassandra King, and his editor, Nan A. Talese, published a loving eulogy:  A Lowcountry Heart:  Reflections on a Writing Life.

Sketches of writers Cassandra King and Pat Conroy

Sketches of writers Cassandra King and Pat Conroy

I’ve been a supremely lucky man.
But a happy one?
This is a river without markers or
navigational charts for me.
– Pat Conroy, “Happy Birthday to Me”

Mr. Conroy penned these tragic words on October 22, 2015, a few days before his last birthday (October 26).  I burst into tears when I read them.  They are such a sad eulogy on his life and in such stark contrast to the abundant love expressed by friends and family in the book.

His words are a harsh reminder that while many abuse survivors achieve professional success, many never experience the true joy or love that they crave.  The ability to receive healthy love isn’t part of our DNA.

Pat Conroy relaxing

Pat Conroy relaxing

For decades, I’ve been on a search for the best practices of abuse survivors who thrive professionally in a concerted effort to help others from collapsing into emotional disability.  Pat Conroy’s candid reflection is priceless:

Here’s what I know:  If a story is not told, it’s the silence around that untold story that ends up killing people.  The story can open a secret up to the light.

Abusive people thrive under the cloak of darkness and silence.  They need our silence to survive.  They don’t care that we pay the ultimate price with our physical and spiritual lives.

Be silent no more!

Pat Conroy and Cassandra King

Pat Conroy and Cassandra King

Mr. Conroy wrote brilliantly about his life experiences in a series of best-selling books (many became movies):  The Boo, The Water Is Wide, The Great Santini, The Lords of Discipline, The Prince of Tides, Beach Music, My Losing Season, South of Broad, and The Death of Santini.

RIP, Mr. Conroy.  You left a dent in the Universe and inspired us all.

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