Dating Kit

Adventures of a Single Girl…

Friendship of a lifetime

on May 9, 2017

Regular readers will have noticed that Dating Kit has been quiet of late. I’d love to say that it’s because of something wonderful, but alas it’s about as far from that as it could get and I feel I owe you an explanation for this absence, though I can’t promise my usual succinct delivery.

Recently, I received a phone call that I’d hoped would never come, but which, realistically, was more inevitable than almost anything.

A month before, my dear friend had so kindly been donated a pair of lungs and a kidney, by an unfortunate soul who’d lost his or her life. Kez was born with Cystic Fibrosis (CF), so not a day of her life passed by without her being sick. Imagine being sick for 45 years. Most of us think we’re dying if we get a really bad cold.

However, for CF sufferers, that risk is very real, whether they have a cold or not.

I’ve seen her through constant illness, worse times with infections, growing up, complications of her illness aplenty, a previous double lung transplant,milestones, as well as love gained and lost. She saw me through life, many weight loss attempts, my mum’s death, meeting and marrying my ex husband, my own illness, divorce and the aftermath, the inception of this business, about which she was encouraging and proud. Together we lived through crushes on guys we knew and plenty we didn’t, weight issues- her to gain, me to lose, and more fashion and music fads than we could ever have imagined.

She went to hospital a couple of days before the organs became available, and during that time I started leaving her voicemail messages. Our last texts were the day before her surgery and she told me she’d loved the voice mails I’d left her already. I was so rapt to have been able to make her happy for a few moments at least.

Then, I keenbunarongly watched her progress on facebook. When she was put onto the transplant list, we talked on the phone about what was going to happen, the battle she’d face and the strength she’d need. We talked about the good times we’d had and she told me that her mum would be posting on her facebook so that we’d all know what was going on with her. I’m ever so grateful that she set that up, because we were able to be involved in part, from a distance, and write messages on her wall which her family read to her, even when she was sedated. I went back to leaving her voice messages, thinking that she could listen to them later on. Then I realised her inbox would be chockers, as others might have had the same idea, so I stopped. But I’m glad I left what I did, and hope that perhaps they were played to her. Up until the day before she died, I was posting links on her wall, for her to look at later, and give her something to look forward to.

The recovery from any type of transplant is long, involved, and painstakingly slow going, with constant setbacks. Organ rejection can occur straight away or years later and despite the anti rejection drugs, the patient is never in the clear.  Infection is a huge risk, and so contact is limited, not to mention that the patient is kept sedated as much as possible to give them the best chance of recovery while minimising energy expenditure. Thus, visitors are kept to family and to a minimum in numbers and length of visit.

For three weeks she looked to be kicking butt, but in the end, the disease won. Infections occur, and in this case, Kez contracted a superbug. It’s the worst of them all, and being already in a highly weakened state made it impossible to fight.

On Easter Monday, lovely Kez succumbed to the illness she’d battled since birth. I’d like to think that she somehow held on until after Easter because she was a huge lollies and chocolate fiend, despite contracting CF related diabetes later in life.

Now, as I write to you, I am broken hearted. For over 20 years we both expected this day to come, and prayed it never would, but as I said earlier, it was inevitable. I always knew that it was a miracle that Kez was alive, and especially for her to have lived so long. For a CF sufferer to reach their 30s is unusual, and Kez was in her 40s- though she’d hate for me to say exactly where she was in that decade, despite her being grateful for every day as it came.

She saw many fellow CF sufferers beaten by the disease she so valiantly fought to defeat. I never knew how she coped, but she did. She lived with the inevitability of this incurable disease and saw and felt the effects constantly.

And now, I, along with her family and many friends, remain here in her stead, remembering all the good times we had with her, and wondering how we’ll go on without her.

Already there have been many reminders of her, signs perhaps. I keep hearing our old fave songs on the radio. I haven’t heard Kylie’s, “I Should Be So Lucky” on the radio in forever, but I heard it today. It made me laugh and cry. I reckon she was DJing for me, and I look forward to more of our fave pop hits pumping from unlikely sources in the future.

She loved music, and in our much younger days, we loved to go out and dance the night away at every chance. It wasn’t a regular occurrence, because her illness prevented her from living the life that lots of us did, but over the years we spent many a night out, showing off to each other and trying out the dumbest and best dance moves either of us had ever seen. We were dancing queens. When her lungs or our feet couldn’t handle any more, we’d go home and dissect the night’s events oforever-09-05-17ver Coke and Cheezels in bed- though that was probably mostly me. For years it’s been the only way I can finish off a night out.

She was an avid tv watcher, as she was house bound for so many years. Buffy was one of her faves, but she had so many, and she rocked a costume party like nobody’s business. (Check us out at my 40th– a dance themed party, of course!! I was disco (and uber tanned) and she was 80s, her fave era) Other times she loved going to the beach, and for a few years she lived within 200 metres of the beach. She loved those years, and I spent many a weekend with her spending time both in the sun, and in the shade when she was no longer able to withstand the sun’s rays.

Kez was ever smiling, and ever understanding. She had a way of empathising with everyone though anything we were going through paled next to her pain. I always say that everything someone feels is valid, no matter how minor it might seem to us, and I reckon I got that from her because that’s how she

The night of my mum’s funeral, Kez stayed with me all night. She wanted to take me out drinking and dancing but I wanted to stay close to family, so we stayed up late talking about memories and she lay beside me as I cried and cried.

Now, I don’t know how I’ll send her off, but it’ll be fitting, and the notion will come to me when I’ve gotten more used to the idea of her being gone. The tears have been present since I heard the news, most often streaming down my cheeks, and when I’ve been able to keep them in, they’ve poured over the open wound of my heart.

As we age, we come to expect the death of older relatives, but our peers or our friends- well that’s a whole lot harder to handle, even if they’ve been sick all their life.

Facing life without my old friend seems impossible, but it must be done. I have no plan for how I’ll do it, except for the way I’ve dealt with the other tragedies I’ve faced. Each day will bring fresh agony, with memories rising from the smallest, most obscure sources. I know that they’ll nearly all be of fun times, so that gives me hope. We went to so many concerts, clubs and pubs, and saw so many reality TV talent shows come and go. We loved American Idol, and critiqued everyone in detail, often much more harshly than the industry experts on the show. They knew record sales, but we knew talent and great music!

I’ll always miss my friend, but I’m blessed to have had so many years with her, and for her, I’m glad she’s no longer struggling. I can imagine that she’s on a dance floor, with her fave tunes on a loop, with her favourite foods nearbyflower-kez, and a glass of Kahlua in her hand. We never did agree on that.

I’ve imagined Kez’s funeral to be colourful, with loud fun music played by her DJ uncle, and lots and lots of lollies and chocolate. A sad day, but also a celebration of the life she lived as fully as she could.

And that’s exactly how it was. It was a dull day with patches of sunshine, and warmth, but the cemetery was a new and wonderfuly serene location. I’d never even heard of Bunurong Memorial Park before, but it’s a beautiful place to be, and to send off a loved one.

Together, Kez’s family, friends, workmates and anyone else who knew and loved her, sent her off in a beautiful, lively, music and laughter filled funeral. It was perfect. And yes, there were lollies!

I went to the funeral with my sister, niece and nephew and an old friend who knew her well. After the funeral, we went to the pub and had a dinner in her honour, and the bartender was kind enough to put on a playlist of artists I requested, all Kez’s faves and then some. It was a lovely extension to the day’s tributes.

I know I’ve learned more from Kez than I can ever put into a post like this, and those lessons will stay with me long after the tears have dried. She was a fixture in my family, and our lives are forever better for having known her, and changed for her having left us.

As much as I know that my words here today are a poor representation of the emotions I’m feeling, the life that she lived and the friendship we shared will never be diminished. I’m grateful that Kez’s pain has ended, but I’m devastated that mine has started. I know from my mum’s death that I’ll never get over it, but instead, I’ll get used to walking around in pain, but hard as that is, it’s nothing like the pain she lived in for all of these years.

This was meant to be a short post explaining my absence, but I soon realised that there was no way I could sum up my friend’s life in just a few words. Dating Kit is about dating, but it’s also about life as a single woman, and I’m going through this horrible time as a single woman. That’s just how it is these days, and I know I’m not the only one who’s gone through tragedy like this solo. But, as always, I’m positive about the future, and that’s what Kez always instilled in me, so that’s how I’ll continue to be, through tragedy and all else that life throws at me. I hope you’ll do your best to do the same.

If you’d like to learn about CF, check out :

http://www.cysticfibrosis.org.au

And Bunarong:

https://bmp.smct.org.au/

Xx Kit

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6 Responses to “Friendship of a lifetime”

  1. I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. This is a beautiful tribute to her and to your friendship together …

    • Kit says:

      Thank you so much. Even with all those years of knowing it likely would happen, it’s extremely difficult to cope with.
      I appreciate your kind words.

  2. Millie says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss! Beautiful post, showing the love for your friend! X

  3. Ayesha says:

    I understand you completely as one of my relative who is six years is suffering CSF and I have a heroine in my novella who faces this disease. A great loss but gives us a lesson to value each day in the life.

  4. Kit says:

    Hi Ayesha, it’s so sad about your relative, but great that you’ve drawn inspiration from them for your novella. No doubt it will help you understand even more, and will help bring awareness to it.

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