Remembering Ed Smith
I would like to join with Newfoundlanders and Labradorians everywhere in wishing Ed Smith ‘Bon Voyage!’ as he goes on to the next phase of his life.
I hardly knew Ed, although our paths did cross when we were both teaching on Fogo Island, he with the Integrated Board in Joe Batt’s Arm, and I in Tilting with the RC Board. NTA meetings were where we met, but we never became more than ‘union comrades.’
I got to know Ed much better through his newspaper column, and then in his books.
He never gave the slightest hint of self-pity, or of resentment, as he described his accident and the resulting quadriplegia. Whatever depression he experienced, he would not share it until he had found a way to make it entertaining. “The Ashes of my Dreams” (2002) is worth reading just to see how much a person can suffer without losing faith, and without letting the sense of humour fade away.
I doubt that many of us could acquit ourselves quite as well as Ed did. I know I couldn’t.
I have never ceased to marvel at the strength of character and the sheer determination Ed showed us, as he soldiered on, writing and enjoying the little absurdities of human life.
I don’t doubt for a moment that his family and his attachment to the Church helped him during his hospitalization and his physical incapacity, but it is also a lasting tribute to the man himself — he just wasn’t the kind to surrender.
After all, he was a Newfoundlander (which is more than I’ll ever be, despite living two-thirds of my life here), and that surely gave him the kind of stubborn will to survive that has kept this island afloat for so long.
I’ll miss Ed; all of us will. But as a fellow Ed, and a fellow Christian (discounting denominations), I’m expecting to deepen our mutual acquaintance ‘hereafter.’
I hope Flanker, or somebody else, will make sure that the rest of Ed’s literary output is made available to the reading public. Ed deserves that, and so do we.
Ed Healy Marystown