Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

A piece of real life infiltrates work


Mom and Dad in 1992

Today was the first day back to work for a friend whose father recently died.  We’ve known each other for more than twenty years, and I’d met her dad a couple of times.  Two weeks ago she stopped by my cube to tell me he was sick and they were going to go to the doctor.  Two weeks ago next Saturday he died from stage 4 cancer.

This morning she stopped by my cube again to thank me for going to the funeral.  And as conversations go at times like this we talked a bit about her dad, what I remembered about him, where she was in the process of sorting out the estate, how things were going.   Then she looked at me and said “Of course this was a lot different than what you went through.”    I thought about that for a bit.   She’d barely known her dad was ill and four days after the diagnosis he was gone.  Four days.  I just didn’t think that was any easier than us finding out dad and mom were gone instantly.  She was still in shock.  She hadn’t had enough time to deal with it, with her extended family, to talk to her dad, let alone sort out her own feelings.  When I told her that four days was as much a shock as instant death her eyes filled up with tears.  She said it really hadn’t sunk in yet.  I nodded that I understood, and told her we could get together after work any time.  But inside my head I was thinking..’except on Tuesdays when I have band, and Saturdays when Katie goes to school, and…

…and then I shut that voice in my head down.  Because haven’t I been in her shoes?  Both parents gone, a little lost, a lot hurting.  Didn’t I have friends that came from across the state to just sit with me and listen to my story?  Didn’t I have a friend who called me every night during the week I was in Alabama after Mom died?  She called me every single night from California to see how I was, when all I could do was sob hysterically into the phone in response.  Don’t I still have friends who will listen to the story when I need to tell it, even though they’ve all heard it before?  And can’t I extend that same love and friendship to this new orphan?  Of course I can.

She was one of the friends that held my hand and listened eight years ago when our world came crashing down.  Now her world is upside down.   And whatever night she needs to talk I’ll be there.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a band night or an obedience morning.  Sometime down the road her loss is going to hit her; once the paperwork is under control, the house is cleaned out, the siblings leave for their distant homes the loss is going to hit.   And that’s when it will be time to pass on the support I received.  Because that’s what friends are for.

Thanks Mom and Dad, for bringing us up with enough sensitivity to recognize hurt when we see it…and for teaching us that last lesson when you had to leave eight years ago – that nothing is as important as the people in your life.  But boy change is hard.

So…lesson learned.   I sure wish you could come back now.

On their wedding day

Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

13 thoughts on “A piece of real life infiltrates work

  1. You are a good friend.

    I read on facebook the other day, something like ~ the people who come first to help you when you’re down, are the people who have been down themselves. I’ve been thinking about that all week.

    You are so right to thank your parents for teaching you sensitivity. Sensitivity, as well as insensitivity, are taught to us early in life. Your parents did good.


  2. I had a different experience when my mom passed away – she had heart failure that happened very quickly and when they realized there was nothing they could do – all her major organs shut down as well – I had to make the decision to turn off the machines. I wished nothing more at that moment for a friend, family, someone, anyone to make that decision for me and I live everyday with the guilt that I said yes – even though I know there was no other choice.


    • Oh Bree, that is an entirely different kind of hard. Maybe the hardest. But you know that you made the right choice, and your Mom would have done the same for you. Hugs to you and your boys.


  3. I saw your blog address from Katybeth, then somehow I just need to check it out. This particular post hits home for me. I just lost my dad about a month ago to heart attack and it still haven’t sunk in just yet.
    It’s a beautiful post about friendship. You’re a good friend. 🙂


    • Sendi-Lou, I went over to your blog and read the story of your Dad. That is so sad. Of course it hasn’t sunk in yet. Sudden death is just inconceivable. Don’t forget that everyone moves through the grief process on their own schedule. Hugs to you. And you’ve got me email if you want to ‘talk’ …any time.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Dawn, I found you on Katybeth’s blog. Was wondering where you’d gone — mystery solved! This is such a sad post. My dad fought esophagus cancer for three years before dying in December 2008. I can assure you and your friend that a lingering death isn’t one bit easier than a sudden one — they both leave you with a ton of sadness and emptiness. Yes, change is hard, but your parents did GOOD in raising you with sensitivity. Those who have been comforted, I believe, are those best able to comfort others!


    • Glad you found me Debbie! I’m working on getting the word out about my move, but it’s hard… I’m sorry to hear about your Dad 4 years ago. Christmas is hard for you too, ey? And watching for 3 years, that’s really difficult. My husband’s parents each died that way. Hard hard hard no matter how we lose them.


  5. You understand more than most. I think, perhaps, we have to lose a parent before we understand what it feels like to be an orphan. You are teaching us. Thank you, Dawn.


    • It’s a strange feeling being an adult orphan. No one gets it until they are one. It’s almost as if as an adult we shouldn’t feel like orphans…but we do.


  6. I love the way you write with your heart, Dawn. Thank you for sharing your deep thoughts. I am re-reading a book that never leaves me, so inspiring it is. It is “Anam Cara” (soul – friend in Gaelic), it is written by John O’Donohue. The last chapter is about Death and I found it so comforting and healing.


  7. Yes, yes. Change, death, losses of many kinds, are all so very hard. All we can do, I think, is go on and remember the good things, knowing that those we love, who loved us, would want that. You are the very best kind of friend to have.


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