Strength Of The Circle
By Karel Murray

My breath exploded from my chest when I listened to my husband’s voice telling me of the sudden death of his oldest brother, Chris. There is just no other way to explain it. First I was breathing normally, enjoying the drive down a four lane highway and next thing I knew, all certainty regarding how I live my life had leached away. What I knew for sure was that I needed to get home to gather my husband in my arms and comfort him. Comfort myself.

My emotional turmoil due to the loss of a treasured brother-in-law could not compare to what my sister-in-law had to be experiencing. Disbelief, anger, confusion, and sorrow that threatened to plunge her so deep into a dark emotional pit, the family feared she would not be able to climb out. My heart trembled for my mother and father-in law, knowing I could never fully understand what it must feel like to lose a child.

Amidst this tremendous grief, all the family wanted to do was clutch each other in strong arms and hold on.

Details became unimportant except as a point to focus on. That’s when I experienced the true nature of friendship, family and compassion. My two strong young adult nephews towered over their mother, creating an impenetrable wall that shouted “We are on guard”. Their incredible emotional strength spilled over onto the rest of the family…and we were calmed. A fortress of love will ensure that the memories of Chris are filled with joy and laughter and guarantee that his legacy lives on.

Over 1,000 people came to the funeral home to comfort the family. With each hug, I felt the healing begin. The strength of the circle of life affirming friendship reinforced our personal ties as well as banish, if only for a moment, the feelings of despair through the gathering of our clan.

Take a long hard look around you and truly see your life. Even if you feel alone, someone, somewhere holds your memory at great value. We can’t live our lives without affecting others. It’s quite impossible. It’s up to us to determine whether that touch is a positive or negative experience. I will never again underestimate the strength of a circle of arms, whether the hug is for my benefit or I’m providing it for someone else.

In arrogance, I’d forgotten that I’m here on borrowed time. What I chose to do with that time is solely up to me. How about you? Just put this article down and call someone and let them know what they mean to you. Live your life without regret. Remember the strength of the circle.

Author's Bio: 

Karel Murray, a national motivational humorist and business trainer is the author of “Hitting Our Stride: Women, Work and What Matters", "Straight Talk: Getting Off the Curb", co-author of "Extreme Excellence", and published monthly her e-newsletter Think Forward!® with thousands of subscribers as well as numerous articles in local, regional, and national publications. You can contact her at or call 866-817-2986 or access her web site at