The Circle Of Life

On Friday I learned my former brother-in-law’s sister had passed away.

58 years old and she just dropped dead from a stroke while she was out shopping with her daughter.

I didn’t know it but she had extremely high blood pressure. Dangerously high. She wasn’t taking her medication.

Krissy and I have remained friends since my sister divorced her brother nearly ten years ago. Her brother is one of the most horrible, unreasonable people I have ever met and she is one of the loveliest. It was sometimes hard to believe they were related by blood.

I kept the fact that I used to meet Krissy for coffee and art gallery visits quiet. My sister was very odd about it on the one occasion I mentioned it to her and accused me of being disloyal to her. Krissy’s brother said the same thing to her. But it wasn’t a question of loyalty or taking sides or anything like that. We just liked each other’s company. We were like-minded people.

There are a lot more rivulets leading off from the main divorce river than you realise. My friend Gina was really close to her ex-husband’s grandmother. She really loved her. LOVED. And now her ex has made it quite clear she cannot see his grandmother ever again.

Another friend of mine was in a defacto relationship where his partner’s children lived with him(and his partner) for more than 15 years. He met his stepdaughter when she was 3 years old. She thought he was her Dad.

Now he and his partner have split and he is not allowed to see his stepdaughter anymore. ‘She is not technically your stepdaughter, anyway – we were never married’, is something he is constantly reminded of.

So much sadness surrounding this type of thing.

It is very hard to never see people you liked ever again. Ever.

I know it can be complicated when divorce or separation steps in, but why can’t all those parties who were friends before remain so? I really don’t know why it can’t happen.

Krissy’s daughter called my sister three days after the funeral. I would have liked to attend the funeral but it seems that Krissy kept the fact she and I met up every few months quiet even from her daughter.

I have been to the church since but it saddened me I couldn’t pay my final respects.

Krissy kept a few things quiet. Her doctor had warned her that if she didn’t get her blood pressure under control she would have a stroke. The medication made her extremely nauseated, so much so that she couldn’t function on a day-to-day basis. I wish she had persisted, I wish she had found a regimen that worked.

Now here is a part of the story you won’t believe.

On the day Krissy died a 29-year old woman was admitted to the intensive care unit of the hospital in the same suburb where Krissy lived. The 29-year old had terminal lung cancer. She was told she needed a lung transplant within a week or she would die.

Krissy was an organ donor.

The 29-year old woman now has Krissy’s lungs and her prognosis is looking good. She has three children under five who now have a better chance of growing up with their Mum.

That’s the circle of life, right there.

Makes you think, doesn’t it?

20 thoughts on “The Circle Of Life

  1. I didn’t realise how often this happens. I have experienced it too. When I married (my ex, since deceased) I found my mother-in-law was impossible to get on with. Mother-in-law from Hell the Second! Anyway over the years we became very close, mostly because her son was such a sod and she could sympathise. We remained close for years after that, right up until she died, but one of her daughters could not understand this and was very offish towards me. You hit the nail on the head with this post, Selma. Well done! πŸ˜€


    Exactly. So many people I know have similar kinds of stories. It’s such a shame to say goodbye to people we get on well with because of a relationship splitting up. I am so glad to hear you managed to remain close to your mother-in-law. Good on you!!


  3. I’m so sorry to hear of your friend’s death, Sel. That’s so young to have a stroke. But it’s lovely that a part of her is giving life to another young mum; that made me tear up.

    I’m sure Krissy will be with you whenever you visit an art gallery.


  4. Relationships are complicated these days, aren’t they?

    Only the other day, I was told I shouldn’t refer to Beth, Chris and Joanne as my sisters-in-law, because they’re really the wives of my brothers-in-law. But, why not?

    After my aunt and uncle divorced, I was told by several members of the family that I mustn’t call her Auntie Margaret any more, because she was no longer my aunt, and I shouldn’t see her if I could avoid it.

    So, I just called her Margaret, and still visit from time to time.


  5. That is so way too early to die – I’m sorry about your friend. You are spot on about relationships and how separation is so cruel on other people (the take sides or else mentality – not fair but usually the way it is).


  6. Hi Selma,
    I’m so sorry you have lost a dear friend.
    There is nothing worse than a friend suddenly dieing, it is always such a shock, we are never prepared for something like that, even worse when we can’t say our good-byes.

    It certainly does get very complicated when people separate, I also have never worked out way friendships have to end with people just because we knew “the other family”, maybe we may never find the answer to that one.


  7. So sorry, it certainly does make you think, relationships, life … it can be so complicated, and yet simple too … like I said, itreally does makes you think!


  8. wow, I don’t quite get it either. I think anyone can be friends with anyone, it doesn’t even make sense

    I think Krissy sounds like such a sweet lady. and it’s nice to know she did something wonderful even after she passed away.


  9. I’m sorry to hear about your dear friend. The relationships we form in life can get so horribly tangled up and complicated … such a shame – it shouldn’t be a hardship to like who we like.


  10. So sorry about your loss Selma. It is an amazing gift she has given. Sadly we have no donor programme in Botswana.


  11. When my ex and I divorced, I did not divorce his family. His sister’s children are still my nieces and nephews, and I’ve been invited to their weddings and thanks to a couple of them, I’m now a “great aunt.” I loved my mother in law dearly, and when she died I was shattered. I was welcome at the funeral, and I was even mentioned in the newspaper announcement.
    Things between my ex and me are still tense, and we’d not likely ever be real ‘friends’ again, but his family still call me one of them. But it *can* happen, there is no need to create unnecessary divisions. Love and friendship connections are precious gifts, and we shouldn’t have to walk away from them because of “political” tensions.

    I’m sorry you lost your friend and weren’t able to say goodbye to her. But I’m glad you’ve learned that she, through the generous sharing of no-longer-necessary-hardware, gave the gift of life to another person and her family. I’ve no doubt this gives you a substantial level of comfort. Circle of life, indeed.


  12. Hey Selma, I was so sad learning about what happened to your friend but so happy when it turned into a happy ending for the young mother!
    And, yeah, all the blending of families can make things tough now adays … but I say just be glad for any good connections you get and try to hang on to ’em no matter what!


  13. Hi DAOINE:
    I couldn’t believe it when I heard about the transplant. Just amazing. It is nice to know Krissy left such a positive legacy.

    They are so complicated. It can be hard to know where to put oneself. I am really glad you stayed in touch with Margaret. I am sure she appreciates it. Good on you.

    It really is too young to die. I am still in shock about it. It was just so sudden. And the take sides mentality drives me crazy. I don’t get why it has to be that way 😑

    Hi MAGS:
    I’m not sure we will ever find the answer. I suppose when there is a lot of hurt involved in a divorce it makes it difficult to keep everybody happy. I wish I had the answers.

    And it is too young to die. Such a shock. So sad.


  14. Hi DEBORAH:
    It does make you think. I don’t think it need be as complicated as it is. A lot of people seem to develop resentments that are unfounded or unnecessary. I know it sounds very 1960s hippy to say this but ‘Why can’t we all be friends?’

    Hi LISSA:
    You are so right. It just doesn’t make sense at all. It is good to know Krissy had such a positive impact on someone after her death. Makes me feel better about having to say goodbye to her.

    Hi TRACEY:
    I know. It shouldn’t be that way, should it? It’s just so ridiculous!

    Hi LAURI:
    It is an amazing gift. I think a donor programme is a good idea but I know there are many countries not yet set up to facilitate one. Maybe Botswana will get one in the future.

    I am not surprised at all that you have maintained a relationship with your ex’s family who are, in fact, also your family. You are so wise about these sorts of things and you always see the bigger picture. My sister, however, wallows in self-pity and revenge fantasies. It is quite a damaging viewpoint to have. I think all of us have missed out due to her ‘taking sides’ ultimatum.

    It does give me comfort to know Krissy has helped someone in such an amazing way. It seems like a kind of miracle!

    Hi SUSAN:
    It did turn into a happy ending, didn’t it? And I completely agree with you – we gotta hold on to those connections. They are too hard to find to just throw away!


  15. I signed my organ donor card after reading this Selma. I always planned to be a donor but never signed and given that I have high blood pressure, well not anymore, but I could drop dead too and it’s important to me to make sure my family knows I want to be a donor. Thanks for a timely reminder even though it came with a blow of losing someone you cared about. xoxo


  16. Hi CATHY:
    I’ve done it too. I know some people are uncomfortable with it – sometimes for religious reasons and I am completely in support of that – but if I could save someone’s life I would be the brightest star in the sky. How incredible!


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