n 1989, she lost her best friend, photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, the man behind the iconic cover shot for Horses. Five years later, Smith's husband, Fred (himself a member of prepunk legends MC5), and her younger brother, Todd, also died.
"I have more patience...less fear of death," she says. "I feel that each person that I loved very much that died, when they died, I felt more like them. More of who they are, and my memories of what I know of them, or their spirit was very strong in me," she says, adding that such experiences have made her a better person.
"My brother was a very kind and good person, and I feel some of his kindness. When I'm taking photographs, I feel I understand more how Robert Mapplethorpe was taking photographs. I understand in raising my children the mind of my husband. It's just, they are magnified. It's just like you have the essence of these people. They're not there anymore, and you're not taking them for granted or half listening [to them] or whatever. You know, when people die, it's not the end of communication with them," she says.
A year after their deaths, Smith met Sebring, and during the filmmaking, Smith lost her parents.
"I am still learning from my mother, still feeling loved by my father," she continues. "The other thing is you learn how to listen more--to listen inside yourself, listen to the spirits, listen to the wind, nature. Listen."
Here is an excerpt from an interview with Petti Smith by Daily Yomiuri article From punk to peacemaker: The balanced life of Patti Smith: