We met at a company Christmas party when I was 21 years old. Recently engaged and about to be married, my then fiancée had just started working for a new company and had befriended a co-worker there. Viv was his wife. Young and somewhat shy, she took me under her wing and immediately made me feel at home. Her laugh was unmistakable, warm and genuine, much like herself. There were no apparent airs or masks that she wore right from the beginning of our friendship. Viv just was, herself, unassuming and wise. Equals despite the age difference, we quickly became friends, a friend like none other I had ever experienced in my young life. The energy between us flowed like milk and honey, always. She was commanding in her own unique way, born and raised on a rural farm, her home in the city reminded me of a farmhouse with the coming and goings, of prepared meals, pickles and pies. You came to visit on an empty stomach and left full, not only with good food, but drink, laughter and a fun game of cards or three. Camping together with our children at their family homestead was again much like gathering with neighbors at the farmyard. Riding horses and quads, the backlands were explored stopping to catch beautiful glimpses of deer herds grazing, camouflaged, regal and serene. Campfires burning deep into summer nights, we told stories and laughed fully as the warmth from the burning embers seeped into our bones. Star gazing and tired we would climb into our campbeds and sleep until awakening to greet a new day, the smell of a hearty breakfast permeating through our camper. Our friendship was hard to describe as the connection lay somewhere deep inside, a place where feelings rather than words bound us. There were no barriers between us, no jealousy, competition, envy. Our relationship was pure in the acceptance of one another, who we were at that moment in time. Never before had I come to know this type of friendship and never have I again. The equilibrium of give and take was to say the least, balanced, as the scales of justice that are equated with my sign. Best of all, Viv saved all the crispy brown potato chips for me, because she knew they were my favorite, whenever a potato chip bag was opened and shared. She, on the other hand, enjoyed all the other chips, consumed with delight and joy. Acknowledgement of the simple differences between us found within a potato chip. The yin to my yang, I miss her terribly and the friendship we shared over many years. Viv passed away from Cancer, and while I stayed with her when she left this earth, she taught me many things in her passing.. I will never forget the nurses who cared for her and while doing so would voice out loud that she was loved and that her loved ones were with her. Smiling always and with a positive life outlook, Viv would remind me that there was nothing she could do about the outcome of her illness and instead lived each day with that same smile and laughter, the farm girl who prepared the table for others with an open and welcoming heart.
Friendships are personal experiences, each bringing various lessons, feelings, connection to our lives and heart. They are the cluster of years in our living that give rise to themes, the way we styled our hair, the way we dressed, the places we visited, the people we met, the parts of ourselves we gave away, the beautiful pieces of others we were given. Sometimes, the most extraordinary pieces we lost. There are friendships that require work and those that don’t. Those that require more of an expenditure of our energy than receiving back, draining. Those that build your self-esteem and others that tear it apart. Those than wield power and control over you and those who never carry that wand or sit on that throne. Connections that are soul connections come but once in a lifetime and you have a deep spiritual awareness that resonates when they do. I am filled with gratitude for having been given the gift of Viv. I miss her presence in my life and the simple offering of crispy brown potato chips. I was blessed with the love of a true friend and for that gift and lesson I am forever grateful. Life offers many blessings when you least expect it. Blessings that forever alter the course of your life and the path you wander. Walking that path holding the hand of a destined friend, priceless. And as you meet the fork in the road, realizing you must go on without them, heartbreaking. But, it is because of their presence in your life, the path forward is lighter, their spirit helping guide the way. Soul connections are just the loveliest.
For Viv, My Dearest Friend, In Loving Memory