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.
My 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.
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.