Friday, February 06, 2009

Lisa Ratcliffe

Back in May 2007 I received the following in my inbox:

Are you JJ?
If so, you can email me back here.
Many thanks,

Once I’d confirmed it was my inbox, we wrote back and forth. She told me of the difficulties she’d experienced in her life and her struggles to recover. She wrote about her immediate family and the joy they gave her; her parents, her birth family and her friends in Spain who had helped her recapture her confidence and belief in herself. She had had a difficult time but the wisdom she had gained from those experiences she passed willingly onto others. She made time and spirit to give to those struggling with what they were trying to do.

I’m not surprised to discover now that she had made contact with other Novel Racers in a similar manner. She had an unfailing generosity toward other people who were grappling with their own experiences.

A few days after our first contact, the following message appeared in my inbox:

Just received the invite and it's in
the evening - fantastic - Joy of Joys!
I can make it!

This would be the first time we met, at the launch of Caroline Smailes’ first book, In Search of Adam. We arranged to text each other when we arrived at the bookshop in case we didn’t recognise each other. She was as lovely in the flesh as she had been in cyberspace.

Despite life’s trials – and they were real ordeals - Lisa always presented a positive enthusiasm for life, for her families, her writing and for horses. It gives me great pleasure to look back at her blog posts about horses and her enjoyment at the technicalities of learning to ride.

She had such courage; with the help of those who loved her, she put herself back together and in school and back on a path to a happier life.

Even after her diagnosis she continued to chivvy me with my writing. “Writers …write,” she urged all of us on her last blog post only a week ago.

She was the bravest woman. She found emotional reserves to blog the journey of her illness, not for self indulgence but for other people …to benefit anyone else experiencing the traumas she’d experienced.

My love and thoughts go to her husband, her daughters, her families and her friends in Spain.

If you can please give something in her memory at


SpiralSkies said...

Oh, Hell. I noticed that she hadn't posted on her blog. 'Writers write' is the last thing she wrote on her blog... I think we owe it to her to do just that.

But she also said that she was pain-free. I knew then that she onward bound... It's always the good ones, isn't it?


Debs said...

I had been wondering how she was. I agree with SpiralSkies, we do owe it to her to keep writing.

I was so relieved to read that she was pain-free too. x

HelenMHunt said...

Hugs JJ x

Lane said...

So desperately sad.

That's a beautiful photo of her JJ.

Paige said...

Wonderful post JJ.

Her last words on her blog will stay with me ("Writers write") and they've given me the kick up the you-know-what to get writing again. Like Spiral said, we owe it to her...


Cathy said...

What a beautiful tribute, JJ.

I just wish I had had the chance to meet Lisa in person. Her blog was certainly inspirational and it will make me keep writing.


ChrisH said...

I'm so, so, sorry to read this, thank you for telling us and I'm sorry for your loss as well as ours.

Yes, we do owe it to Lisa to keep writing for her.

Caroline said...

A beautiful post jj and I can connect with so much that you have written here.
Thank you for writing it.

liz fenwick said...

Beautiful. Thank you.

Leatherdykeuk said...

A lovely tribute, JJ.

Flowerpot said...

really terrible news but yes we owe it to her to keep writing. What a brave lady and how she will be missed.

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

Lovely, lovely post JJ - thanks.

Tam said...

What everyone else has said, really. Lisa made me think a lot and touched a lot of people.

Writers write!


KAREN said...

It really is heartbreaking news. Beautiful post.