my mentor & friend
Well, she FINALLY, and ACTUALLY retired. After 25 years Patricia Kolstad has found a new, brilliant and lovely chapter in her life – unexpected, unlooked for, and completely deserved. She has been “Aunt Pat” to me for as long as I can remember and over the years has truly become a valued mentor in my life.
This blog is a small tribute to the extraordinary career of Patricia Kolstad and a guide for the kind of mentor we should seek to be and seek to have in our own lives.
Mentors are committed to “being there”
The work Pat has done professionally and personally to build and maintain relationships is founded on her belief in what is right. She is a helper, an encourager, someone who is there. And she has been there for so many. I admire her drive to bring care to the caretakers, to encourage the professionals who are so busy caring for others they lose themselves. She saw a need and she made choices and efforts to be there for these people. The caregiver to the caregivers.
Mentors value having many families
Pat is one of those people who makes you feel like family. She brings to her relationships a sincerity, depth, and loyalty that binds you together. Her dedication to her own family is deep and wide, and unbroken by anything. But Pat has many little pockets of other “families” – the ones she has created in her community and devoted herself to for the rest of her life. I love seeing the depths of these relationships and the diversity they bring to her life.
Mentors emphasize our continual need for wisdom
As someone who savors the wisdom of others, Pat has herself, become a sage whose advice I dearly cherish. Her 70th birthday party was decorated with tons of her favorite quotes and she gave them out as favors to all of us. She is a reliable source. She fights for justice but spills over with grace (I think it’s becoming very clear why she became my mentor).
Mentors demonstrate the power of honesty
Pat knows herself and isn’t shy about where she stands or what she thinks – but there is always room and a listening ear for any thought or situation. I trust Pat because she is not a flatterer but I also know how deeply she is rooting for the best in my life and she tells everyone how much she loves them all the time. Honesty given in the safety of love is a rich gift.
Mentors have the courage to change
At 71 (this is how honest she is!) Pat has opened her heart to a new love, a new home, a new future. It’s amazing. I think she is an example to anyone, throughout her life, of the bountiful yield that a teachable heart, deeply desirous of doing and being good, is capable of.
When I think of Pat I think of the line from my favorite song in Hamilton, “What is a legacy? It’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see.” She has done just that. Her work has ensured that the truth about grief (and so many other issues) will continue to be spoken. I love that – I love that her life has and will continue to yield truth for others in their most desolate of places. She has seen to it that the caretakers in our community, both professional and family, have the opportunity to be cared for and be seen. She has given her heart to the heart-broken and her outstretched hands to those in need of support.
Pat is the bridge who brought Dr. Bill Hoy to our community professionals in south Orange County. Since 2001, their educational partnership has given away thousands of free Continuing Education Units to professionals all over southern California. She has had a career that has helped innumerable people; something she can be so deeply proud of.
Aunt Pat, your friendship and mentorship are some of the most significant of my life. I love you, dearly, Aunt Pat.