Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

Behind the fog


I’m up early this Saturday morning because, as usual, Katie is up early. But I can’t place the blame solely on her; before she demanded breakfast I was already awake.

A dreary day is brightened by a visitor.

Katie and I wander the dark yard after her morning meal, looking for the perfect spot. It feels warm, at 36F (2.22C), though of course it is not. Fog drifts above the melting snow, drips from the trees sounding loud in the silence that envelops an early Saturday morning.

My mind is in a fog too.

I heard from a high school friend last night that the latest treatment for her cancer hadn’t worked, tests results are in and she and her doctors are moving on to another type of chemo. I don’t know how many different treatments she’s tried in this past year, but this is by far not the first failure.

When I received her text I told my husband and he sat down heavily with a sigh. “So many…” he said then drifted off into silence. We have several friends in different stages of treatment for cancer.

I remember my Dad, years ago, saying that the Christmas letters they received had morphed from talking about their marriages, to their jobs, to their kids, their kids graduations, marriages, grandchildren, and by the end of his life Christmas letters were filled with health issues. But I thought my folks were lots older than I am now when all that health stuff started.

Puffed up against the cold he knew he looked magnificent.

But when I think about it…no…they were just about our age. When did our lives and schedules begin to revolve around doctor appointments? How did we slide so effortlessly into this place where our own mortality stands starkly in front of us?

Heavy thoughts for so early in the morning but maybe early morning is the best time to contemplate the wholeness of life.

Katie grabbed a toy when we got back inside, offering it to me, wanting a bit of play before she wandered off for her morning nap. She reminds me that there is still fun and goodness and hope in all our lives.

Coming in close to offer comfort.

She’s snoring now and I’m sorting through yesterday’s photos. Some people believe cardinals represent visits from our loved ones. I can’t prove that one way or the other, but this morning I find comfort and smiles and a bit of hope all rolled into these shots.

Today I will think about my friends and their struggles and hope that the sun comes out for a bit wherever they are, that the fog lifts and hope shines and a cardinal wings it’s way into their lives too.

A bit of a snack before heading out.

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.

29 thoughts on “Behind the fog

  1. This is a beautiful post, Dawn. Thank you. M and I have been having similar discussions. We are now at the age where we’re losing friends. I used to wonder, when I’d listen to my father talk about how his friends were all gone, how you go on with that kind of loneliness, but you do.


    • I do think the potential for loneliness is greater the older we get. Not going to work can be isolating, especially if you sort of enjoy alone time so don’t get involved in many things once you retire. Not saying that’s good or bad, but I can see growing older and more and more alone. However, this new fangled internet sure has a way of connecting people if they want to be connected. Yes, more seriously, I am worried about many people in my life who are struggling with health issues and grateful our health is relatively good at the moment. We talked to an 82 soon to be 83 year old friend last night, we are going to go visit her in AZ soon. We were supposed to go last February but I fell and sprained both wrists….so she says I need to slow down now and not do anything stupid so that we will get out there this time. 🙂


  2. Beautiful post. Here too, it’s a little sombre. My mother’s cousin’s wife passed away on the 23rd, they were close friends to my mum and dad. It was kind of like losing my mum all over again. It wasn’t cancer though, she had Alzheimer’s, another cruel way to go. I believe that a loved one visits when you see a cardinal. What does it matter if it’s not really true. It makes me think of my loved ones so in a way it does bring them back.


    • Helen, I’m sorry about your mother’s cousin. I’m sure it did feel as though you lost your mum all over again. I think I’ll probably feel that way when my own aunt leaves, she is the last of the aunts and uncles from our childhood days. If cardinals reflect loved ones visits then I have a whole lot of curious relatives checking in on me all the time!


  3. That’s a beautiful post, Dawn. On the first day of Chinese New Year celebrations, I’m glad to read this post. Truly that we have slowly silently slipped into the age that our parents have gone through and hopefully, we can still live our life to the fullness. Let’s enjoy and be in each and every moment.


  4. I am so sorry for your friend, Dawn. I think I am lucky as I found a chemo that is working for me. Granted, I was off for a year and am back on it now. Damn those spots that come back just when you think you are looking good. I finish this second bout in April. Both my oncologist and my oncology surgeon advised me to keep the port in….it’s not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’ it comes back. Helluva way to live, but you go on. I so hope they find something that works for your friend. Cancer is a bitch.


  5. That’s the one thing about getting older, all the maladies that surround us, and our loved ones. I think to sit and contemplate as you did in this post is a great cathartic way to process all these things. Finding wherever it is, is also a good thing.


  6. Beautifully written, Dawn. You know, when you’re young, it seems you lose grandparents and then, as you age, it becomes parents, then friends and siblings. Sad that our bodies have an expiration date, huh? But the message of the cardinal is that Life Goes On. Maybe not in the form we’re used to, but certainly in a better one. Prayers for your friend — and all the others — suffering this day; I, too, hope they can find slivers of joy and loveliness sandwiched in their misery.


    • My parents didn’t even take us to grandparents funerals…it wasn’t until I was married and my husband’s family, which is large, had a rash of funerals that I really figured out what all of that was about. And the cardinal? I wrote about one that showed up outside Aunt Vi’s funeral lunch the day of her funeral…and one that showed up when Katie and I were traveling to Alabama shortly after. I fully believe that was Aunt Vi letting us know she was happy.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. As Lois said, Cancer is a bitch. So is Alzheimers’ and I’m sure many other things, but Cancer is the one I have had experience with. As Bruce said “so many” – that’s what I though so often when I was having chemo and then when my husband was having chemo and radiation treatments. So very many.


  8. Photos and words … absolutely beautiful. Thank you Dawn.


  9. Beautiful photos, the red cardinal stands out, so red against the background! Wonderful post, praying for all who battle or have had to battle cancer. I too have thought your exact thoughts, where has the time gone? Seems like yesterday I was changing diapers, helping my toddlers. Somber post, but totally relevant for many, including me. ❤️❤️❤️


  10. Lovely photos and commentary. My parents commented about the same kind of evolution of their holiday letters incoming and outgoing. I’m sorry to hear that your friends latest treatment hasn’t worked. I wish Her luck.


  11. Love this post, Dawn! Your lens capture of the cardinal is so beautiful. I guess we are all in a bit of a fog these days! Aging and illness are humbling for all of us. We need to appreciate those around us and pray for peace for them and for us.


  12. Hi, Dawn – I’m sorry to hear about your friend. This is a great reminder to never take our health, or the health of our friends or loved ones for granted. Thank you for the very thoughtful post. Sending warm hugs your way.


  13. Dawn I am so sorry about your friend- I do hope whatever the next plan in her treatment helps to fight off the disease. I could so relate to the words you wrote. Especially with old friends- who take us back to a different time in life and allow us to think we are still so young. Then reality rears its head and we realize there is more time behind us than in front. It gives me pause most days, I must say. Working with people 30 years younger than me also brings it home everyday. I like your thoughts about the cardinals.


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