Renewed and Refocused

Losing a loved one takes a bigger toll than expected…

Wow. I never thought losing my brother would have affected me as much as it did. It has really made me think just how short and how precious life really is. Tony was only eight years older than me…

As a memoir writer, I am already pretty sentimental when it comes to remembering the things that have transpired during my lifetime. The book that I have been diligently writing — S.E.V.E.N.: Saving Every Vow, Even Now — has taken on a new outlook due to the loss of my brother. I have put a different spin on the writing, making it more upbeat and powerful. As well, I have also decided to make my book stand out from the crowd by laying it out in a unique fashion. But, I’m not ready to let that cat out of the bag yet…

At the funeral, some of the residents from the apartment building where Tony lived came to pay their respects. One of the residents got up and said a few words. In her two minute speech, she told of a side of my brother that I was aware of but not fully aware. This woman told a story of a man who was kind, caring, and compassionate. Someone who had taught himself to knit and who had knit two blankets for other residents and was working on a third when he passed away. She told the story of a man who did all in his power to bring joy to the residents through sharing his time, talents, and skills — hosting raffles in the building, checking in on the other residents and assisting them however he could. Simply put, he loved unconditionally everyone who crossed his path and he spread this love and the joy it brings in an unrestricted and unrestrained manner.  He gave fully of himself not one, but all of the talents that God bestowed upon him during his lifetime…

In my decision to write memoirs, I also chose to write about topics which are often shunned — infidelity, domestic violence, incest, and the like. Not that all these tragic things happened to me directly, they are part and parcel of whom I am because I have an intimate affiliation with these topics through personal experience of some sort. Hearing that woman speak about my brother Tony and all the gifts he gave back to the universe inspired me to do the same. I realized that I have been blessed with many gifts — coaching, journaling, empowering, and other tools which can be used to uplift those around me. Not only could I write a book that would hopefully inspire and empower others, but I could do a wealth of things which would offer avenues of empowerment to the world. Not everyone is a book reader. By instituting other methods of self help and empowerment, I would be able to reach and assist more people.

From this, S.E.V.E.N. Circle Coaching and the S.E.V.E.N. Circle Sistahs network were born. As a Certified Professional Coach, I specialize in Spiritual and Relationship Coaching. S.E.V.E.N. Circle Coaching is a coaching service designed to empower women and help guide them to the answers they seek, which lie within themselves. The S.E.V.E.N. Circle Sistahs network is an online sacred community for women to circle together to uplift, empower, encourage, and support each other in their transformation journey to True Self. At the Circle, women are provided a safe haven to share and open up with like-minded women, discussing everything from art and creativity, to developing their individual businesses in a loving and supportive environment.

Although the site is still being developed, it is open to the public. I invite all of the women readers of this blog to join me over at S.E.V.E.N. Circle Sistahs. I will be moving the Inspired & Independent Book Club to the network in order to streamline my online presence. However, the W.I.N. at Writing blog will stay intact, as is, bringing up-to-date articles on writing and the writing life. I look forward to seeing you in the Circle as well as here at W.I.N.


In Loving Memory of Alton “Tony” Friend, Jr.

Tony, My Phoenix

You and I were a world apart
But you were never far from my heart
You played your strings
Never realizing the joy it brings
You played Prince
All that was needed to convince
Me of the musical talent
That was in your soul, deep and valiant

Your walls were painted black
A symbol of your inner attack
Against all that came to haunt your spirit —
You were just not going to hear it!
In all that you do
You continued always being you
A lesson in time
That you have taught me to be mine…

It is because of you
I do all that I do
Not afraid to be different
Quiet, observant, and intent
I will miss you brother
You are like no other
You are my Phoenix —
Flying free. Living forever how YOU mean it!!

Written for Tony
by “Kymmie”
(Kymberleigh Anne Friend) 

Today my family and I laid my brother to rest. My family and I appreciate all of the love and kindness we have been shown during our hour of bereavement.