15 Jul
My favourite photo of Viv

My favourite photo of Viv

I never truly understood the concept of a heavy heart until this past week, when I heard the news that my beloved friend Viv had died.

Many of you knew her, whether online or in person; many more must have read her comments on my blog: she was one of my greatest supporters and cheerleaders. I loved her very much.  I’m glad I told her so.

I am not alone in my love: once the news had been posted by her family, on her blog, comments poured in from all over the world; dismay and sadness were the chief emotions, but many happy memories were shared.  The comment box not being enough, other bloggers posted their own tributes to Viv.  She deserves each and every one.

This isn’t a case of not speaking evil of the dead: she was a genuinely good and generous woman.  She was passionate about music, nature, the environment, quilting, poetry, education, friends, family…but most of all, she was passionate about life.  She lived.  She lived fully.  Despite pain and suffering, she lived right up to the end.  You could never accuse her of apathy.

She was always honest – here’s what turned out to be her last critique of one of my poems:

No and thrice no.  In questionable taste and unfunny!!!!!

I shall treasure it forever.

DSCN0956My heart has been heavy because of her loss; but also because I wanted to write this post – even had it roughed out in my head – but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.  If I put it into print, then it became true: my dear Viv has gone.

My dear Viv has gone.

Upon hearing the news of a beloved’s death, people react differently: some cry, some scream, some freeze.  Some pretend it never happened. Some can’t believe that it happened.  All wish it hadn’t happened.

But for each person, no matter their reaction, there is one constant: emotion, like a boulder, sits on the chest – in the chest – where the beloved once resided.  Like Sisyphus, we try to push it away.  Unlike Sisyphus, we eventually succeed.  It may take months, years, decades but, sooner or later, the unbearable loss becomes bearable, and only love remains.

Once a person lodges in your heart, they never leave.  An osmosis occurs; and separation is merely physical.

Viv will always be a part of my life; I will always remember her.  How could I not? Before I met her, when we were friends online only, her personality was such that I was convinced ‘Viv’ was short for ‘vivacious’.  Imagine the full force of her charm and sweetness (she was often tart in print; never in person, that I ever saw) once we actually did meet.  I loved her at once.  You would have, too.

ViV compressed

Photo © Blake/Hutt
Viv graduating from the Open University

Do yourself a favour and visit her blog, if you haven’t before.  She wrote poetry from the heart – like she lived her life – but it was always accessible.  Enjoy her rants on war, politicians, terrorism, the way we treat the environment.  Revel in her sublime appreciation of nature.  Mourn the loss of a unique and special woman; and, like me, be grateful if you knew her at all.


27 Responses to “Viv”

  1. jmgoyder July 15, 2016 at 15:41 #

    I am so sorry – so terribly sorry. Crying for this loss xxxx


  2. thehutts July 15, 2016 at 15:46 #

    Thank you for this lovely blog about Mum. I loved meeting you with Mum in Carlisle and Durham when Mum came to stay. Also thanks for helping me choose a poem of Mum’s to read at her funeral next Wednesday. Sally

    Liked by 1 person

  3. sarsm July 15, 2016 at 15:50 #

    I didn’t know. I am so very sad. I am sorry for your loss. The warmth and friendship the two of you shared was clear and heartwarming.
    I am shocked. I can’t believe she has gone. Some people are so full of life, it’s barely possible to imagine them not being there. Viv was one of those people.
    Much love to you and your family. As much as she enhanced your life, it is clear to me that you enhanced hers. Maybe that helps… ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  4. slpmartin July 15, 2016 at 16:02 #

    Peace be with you and all those whose hearts have been touched by sadness…let us celebrate her life.


  5. judyt54 July 15, 2016 at 16:28 #

    Like is the wrong word, there. My first thought was, Im so glad you and Viv finally got together to meet but beyond that, there’s nothing really that can be said. Hugs to you, Linda. Truly.


  6. laurieanichols July 15, 2016 at 17:18 #

    Tilly dearest, a most passionate and fitting tribute to your beloved friend. I will miss her too. Xxoo


  7. The Hub July 15, 2016 at 17:41 #

    I only had the privilege of meeting Viv, and indeed Jock once. They drove four hours to pick us up at the airport and four hours to get home again. From the minute we arrived both Linda and I felt right at home. Linda and Viv were like two lost twins meeting for the first time but didn’t need to find out anything about each other because they knew everything already.
    My heart goes out to Viv’s family, specially Sally and Jock. As much as my words of condolences are from the heart I am afraid they are no more than a plaster on a large open wound. Your memory and your writings will be around for a very long time. Thank you for your love, mentoring and friendship you gave to Linda.
    RIP Viv.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Al July 15, 2016 at 18:22 #

    This is a difficult loss for you and her family. I knew how close you were with her and I always read her comments to your blogs. The hurt in your heart will eventually subside, but not the sweetness of her memory.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Sarah J Bryson July 15, 2016 at 19:10 #

    How very sad. And what a lovely tribute. I remember the blog you wrote after your visit to stay with Viv and her hub – and that very photo you have shared again with us today.
    Be gentle on yourself, and remember the good times. xxx


  10. patrecia upton July 15, 2016 at 22:59 #

    I read of this on Miss C,s page and i am very sorry for your loss


  11. Barb July 16, 2016 at 00:04 #

    You have written a very fitting and well deserved tribute to our Viv; we are all in shock, it’s unthinkable that she is not here anymore with us. You two shared a very special relationship and yes, she will always be there with you. RIP dear Viv.


  12. Victoria C. Slotto July 16, 2016 at 01:02 #

    This touched me deeply…but the photos made me smile. You are so lucky to have known her personally. I don’t think I will ever forget her…a quilt, my friend who lives in Normandy, my own aging issues–Viv just shines through. And, yes, form poetry.


  13. Joss July 16, 2016 at 03:48 #

    I confess I have been waiting to read your tribute to our beloved Viv, you who knew and loved her so. She was all that you say and a dear friend. You will hear her comments, her laugh, her passion for life and the written word for years to come.


  14. granny1947 July 16, 2016 at 08:32 #

    A lovely tribute. She will be sorely missed.


  15. McGuffy Ann July 16, 2016 at 09:05 #

    We should all strive to the kind of person to be remembered with a tribute so beautiful as this. Thank you for sharing. I know Viv will be missed. Peace.


  16. Karen Snyder July 16, 2016 at 12:10 #

    I am so sorry to read of the loss of your dear friend. May beautiful memories help to ease your aching heart.


  17. Grannymar July 16, 2016 at 15:18 #

    A wonderful tribute for your very special friend Viv. May she rest in peace. I actually discovered the news from two bloggers, one, a quilter in Northern Australia and the other a self sustaining farmer in Illinois. I always enjoyed her comments on their blogs and here on yours. May time ease the sadness and allow you to remember the happy times you spent together laughing. Hugs GM


  18. Gobetween July 16, 2016 at 16:48 #

    So sad, in the photos one can see you two had an awesome time when you got together.


  19. Tom Merriman July 16, 2016 at 19:55 #

    A lovely tribute, Tilly. I am truly sorry for Viv’s passing, and I thought of you when I read the post on her blog.


  20. SchmidleysScribblins July 16, 2016 at 20:25 #

    OMG. I recall when you posted the photo above with you and Viv. I felt so envious of your good fortune in meeting such a great person. And , now I am sad for you. Such a loss. I’d say something else, but there’s nothing I can say. Take care Linda. I love you, and so do many others.


  21. sharechair July 17, 2016 at 00:34 #

    Oh, my, oh, my. Viv was not a follower of my blog, but I became familiar with her through yours. I took delight in the relationship you two shared, and was downright happy when you got to meet each other. This blog-world is odd that way. We may not know a person in “real” life, but somehow this activity connects us …… I’m so sorry, Linda. Be gentle with yourself.


  22. Debra July 17, 2016 at 07:25 #

    I’m so very sorry to hear of this significant loss. I do remember her comments on your post and it’s easy to see why you formed such a fast friendship. The loss of a friend is indeed a hard blow to the soul. A good friend of mine died about year ago and I haven’t been able to delete a short phone message I carry on my cell phone. Deleting it makes the loss final. We’re funny the way we play with these emotions, but we do hold on any way we can. I’m so sorry. ox


  23. Elaine - I used to be indecisive July 22, 2016 at 17:38 #

    It is such sad news, but you have written her a wonderful, wonderful tribute.


  24. restlessjo July 22, 2016 at 23:03 #

    It was a beautiful service and there were more smiles than tears, as Viv would have wanted. She would have been so proud of you for your reading of her epitaph. I was so glad to meet you, however briefly, and not in circumstances either of us could have wanted. Sending inadequate hugs.


  25. Mlissabeth July 23, 2016 at 17:08 #

    Thank you so much for this lovely tribute. All that loved her will miss this wonderful woman.


  26. Harry Nicholson September 4, 2016 at 20:15 #

    I do miss her. I still expect her comments on my blog. She had read half the sequel to Tom Fleck and was cheerfully expecting the remainder – but I was too late. I’ve dedicated ‘The Black Caravel’ to Vivienne Blake.



  1. Six word Saturday | restlessjo - July 23, 2016

    […] by Viv’s high standards).  It was read for her by close friend, Linda, who I know best as Tillybud.  Handel’s ‘Let the Bright Seraphim’ and then an emotional performance of […]


I welcome your comments but be warned: I'm menopausal and as likely to snarl as smile. Wine or Maltesers are an acceptable bribe; or a compliment about my youthful looks and cheery disposition will do in a pinch.

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