Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

Life is short, no matter how long you’ve got

63 Comments

Katie and I spent Halloween day wandering together under beautiful blue skies. The leaves here are finally turning, and in the early morning light they were spectacular. Walking under them, with my girl, watching the light shift and glow was special.

On the way to our early morning adventure.

When Katie got sick last spring we hoped we could get her to fall, when the temperatures drop and she has, in the most recent years, transformed from a middle aged, lethargic dog of summer into a youngster who throughly enjoys her walks.

I love this rug, mama, it compliments my beauty!

Somehow, in the fall, she turns back time and prances during her walks in the woods and around the neighborhood. But this year, the year we needed those cooler temperatures to hurry up so she could enjoy them, October held on to summer with an iron grip.

I’ll sit here for you mama, but you better have treats!

I enjoyed those warm days with temperatures in the 70s, but worried that Katie and I wouldn’t get our cool walks in the woods. So on the last day of October, with early morning temperatures dropping and as the sun began to creep up into the sky, Katie and I headed out in search of adventure.

Don’t you just love this weather, mama?

We stopped first in Milford, a town that always dresses the storefronts for fall, complete with a giant pumpkin in front of a fancy restaurant. For the past few years I’ve taken Katie there for a photo shoot.

Hey mama! THIS is the giant pumpkin you talked about??

This year we were disappointed, as the entire town is dug up with some sort of construction project, and the giant pumpkin was less than giant. Still, we walked around town for a little bit. Like the princess she is, she insisted on doing some window shopping, checking out every single shop doorway. That made me smile.

Anything good in here, mama?

So I took a window shot of the two of us.

Me and my girl.

But we didnt stay in town long, we headed out to my favorite park, and to her favorite walk in that park. The color as the sun rose was spectacular.

I was giggling like a schoolgirl it was so pretty.

And walking there, on a service road through the trees with my girl, I contemplated the shortness of life. Though her numbers were better at the last vet visit, Katie is still near the end of her life.

Isn’t this amazing, mama?

She’s a happy girl, and good at hiding her discomfort. She still likes to go on adventures, she still loves her suppers. She still loves us. But sometime, maybe sooner then later, we’re going to have to make that hard decision.

Light and color ease the angst.

And it’s not just her. I’ve been dog sitting for a neighbor whose husband had a combination of cancer and heart disease. He’s been in the hospital for the last few weeks, and this week, when she thought he was coming home, he died.

I always feel better when I’m near water.

He was a very nice man, loved his garden, his wife, his dogs. I’d talk to him when I was out walking Katie. He’d always tell me what he was planning for next year’s garden, “if I’m still here,” he’d say. Now his flowers are still blooming in our long, extended fall, but he isn’t here.

A bit of fall trapped in last summer’s volleyball net.

I dog sat for his two pups while his wife and family attended his funeral. I would have gone myself, but my time was better spent taking care of the two little dogs who have lost their man.

Be like me, mama, live in the moment.

And another friend just had surgery, leaving her two cats at home for the duration. She had someone to come in and take care of them, but I stopped by to play with them too. They always came running for a tummy rub, or a romp through a tunnel. I enjoyed spending time with them, but they’re so much happier now that their person is back home.

I love it out here mama.

And there’s my own family member who has spent the last two weeks in the hospital and had major surgery too. She has a long road ahead of her, and though she has no pets for me to take care of, she’ll still need some visits and perhaps help with some household chores.

Nature’s art installation.

It has seemed like trouble and tragedy is everywhere. But it’s easier to bear while walking through a beautiful woods with my girl. And someday, hopefully far in the future, when I don’t have my girl walking next to me, well, I’ll have the memories, and the pictures. And that will have to do.

Mama? Do you feel better now?

I’m grateful that I have had so many years with her. I’m grateful I knew my neighbor and his gardens. I’m grateful to the friend with the cats, and the long life of my relative now recuperating at home.

Life is a road, mama.

But sometimes…sometimes it feels like time has flown, and life is short, and there’s just no way to slow it all down.

Don’t try to figure it out, mama. It’s all going to be OK.

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.

63 thoughts on “Life is short, no matter how long you’ve got

  1. A very heartfelt post. I know exactly where you are coming from. Our dog is also near the end of her life but she still enjoys her food, her walks, albeit short, and her nightly treats. We can only live each day to the fullest and take comfort in the good times and cherish the fond memories of those who passed before us.

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    • Sending hugs to you as you struggle with similar decisions. Katie is still happy, but sometimes I look at her and think maybe she’s in pain. If I could figure it out for sure I’d have to let her go. But so far it’s not obvious. At least to me. I hope she’ll tell me.

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  2. A wonderful post Dawn.

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  3. Oh Dawn, I’m sitting here reading with tears in my eyes… ❤

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  4. It’s odd in a way ..the day we are born we begin the journey to dying. For all living creatures and plants it is always the end goal…..but the real purpose is the journey…what we see, do, feel, all those memories sustain us as the end draws nearer.

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  5. I feel the same as you Dawn. Yesterday a friend I have known since in my 20’s died. He had been sick. Though we hadn’t seen each other except for occasionally bumping into each other over the years, – I felt the loss deeply, maybe because it reminded me of how many years have passed in a blink, it saddened me to think this vibrant man was gone from his family.
    My dogs lived to 20 and it was still not enough, so I understand the pain there too. I am happy to see Katie among the foliage, and happy she is out and about- and yes, time has flown. ❤ ❤
    Thank you for your timely words for me this morning.

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    • I’m sorry to hear about your friend. I heard that a friend from work died last week from covid. He was so young, so funny, such a good guy. I’m having trouble wrapping my mind around the fact he’s gone. I guess I should expect more loss as I get older, but covid seems to have sped all that up. It’s hard, isn’t it. But 20 years for your dog! That’s amazing! Even then, it’s still hard. I so much don’t want Katie to go. I want her to live forever. Sometimes I forget she’s sick, and when I remember again it’s just as jarring as it was the first time I heard. Sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I know Dawn, both of our dogs lived almost 20 years, and because their last years were so difficult it was not easy to remember them in their younger days. I still weep when thinking of them, though they are gone for 9 and 12 years. They do leave a lasting imprint within us

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  6. I understand the sentiment!
    I’ve been neglecting the world of WordPress lately as life has held a lot of changes. We decided to put our house on the market and will be moving to be closer to family, because as you said, life is short. I am grateful that our future home has a wooded backyard, so hopefully there will be more bird photos in 2022!

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    • Wow! I hope your new house has just as many beautiful birds! I bet you will miss your back yard, but I get wanting to be closer to family. I look forward to your photos whenever you have time to post more!

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  7. Katie loves to spend time with you. Glad you got some cool fall weather that she could enjoy. Beautiful photos as always.

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  8. This post is beautiful, even if it is a bit sad. It reminds us to live in the moment! Hugs to you both! Your photos are gorgeous, and Katie looks so happy in them. 🤗

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  9. Life is cruelly short. I hug my dogs and kiss them every day like it’s our last. Bring if service is also my way to show my affection and concern. Give Katie a little hug for me.

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    • I’ve been hugging her hard for a long time now, since she got to be about 9 and I started anticipating all of this She thought I was crazy, as she’s not a hugger. But she puts up with me.

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  10. WHAT A POST!

    So many great shots of an awesome Princess –

    AND so many beyond great thoughts –

    LiVE IN THE MOMENT for THE MOMENT – we never know –

    With this as inspiration, Willow and I will make sure a trip to DAWN’s in part of our adventure today!

    H&K&W,
    Willow and Phyll

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  11. Crying over my coffee…thank you for such a heartfelt post. ❤️

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  12. Such a beautiful piece, both the words and images. Brought tears to my eyes. Death and loss are a sorrowful part of life. Very important to cherish loved ones while they are here.

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  13. Oh Dawn…my heart breaks. The truth and beauty of this post stagger me.

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  14. Oh my! There is so much beauty in this post, Dawn, and sadness, although perhaps more wistful than sad? I’m not sure, but there are so many feelings roiling around in my brain and my tummy now, and the tears are so near the surface. A gentle (or not-so-gentle?) reminder that life is short, and each day needs to be lived with appreciation for every minute of it.

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  15. I’m typing this through tears, Dawn. Having trod roughly the same path with my Dallas, I know how short our fur-kids’ lives are … and I just want to shout, It isn’t fair! They give us so much love and loyalty; then, in what feels like a blink, they’re gone. I’m glad you and the Princess are getting out for walks and making more memories (and taking beautiful photos!). I’m glad she’s still got her spunky nature (and tongue-in-cheek comments), and I dread the day she’s gone. However, I refuse to go down that path now, preferring to gaze into her soulful eyes and see how much she loves her mama!

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  16. The beauty of those leaves, and of your lovely girl’s face! Some years are full of sadness. We went through a spell from Easter to July when those we loved were suffering or losing partners or dying themselves. It’s hard to stay positive and resilient. But we do just have to put one foot in front of the other, and try to enjoy the beauty around us.

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    • Sometimes it does seem like there is only tragedy all around us. And sometimes that is even true. But there’s always something beautiful around too if you take a breath and look. In 2004 we lost my mom and my dad, and my husband’s dad and my uncle and my best friend. I don’t think we could ever have anything worse than all that, but I guess you never know. I’m sorry for your awful spring/summer. ALl we can do is take a baby step and move forward, bringing the memories of them all along with us.

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  17. Your photos made me happy…good memories and counting blessings…we have to appreciate the moments! I am so sorry your relatives, neighbors, friends and Katie are struggling. It seems to be an up and down road we never know what is around the bend. Hugs for Katie!

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  18. Beautiful photos. Beautiful words, Dawn. Touched my heart.

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  19. So bittersweet. And all the perfect photos to go along with it. I wish your family member the best of healing.

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  20. So glad you and Katie got out in that beautiful woods, Dawn. We have had an exceptionally beautiful autumn in Michigan this year, arriving late and now with plenty of bright color still as November cold comes on.

    Like you, I reflect often on time. We lost several old friends this year, very dear, but the two of us at home — three, counting Peasy — are going into the winter in pretty good health. And though our human social life is constrained by our special needs dog, whose lack of people skills will probably always need to be “managed,” we enjoy our evening movie time together, especially that first half-hour of the movie when Peasy accepts our invitation to join us on the bed, and we pet our little snuggle-bug while he lies blissfully between us, all three of us soothed by a flooding of oxytocin and serotonin for which we don’t need pills.

    Last night our movie was a documentary on “How the Earth Was Made,” beginning four-point-something billion years ago. Somehow that was strangely soothing, too.

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    • I know it’s been a tough year this year for you and your friends. So many gone. I remember my dad saying that when he and mom got to a certain age the Christmas letters were all about doctor appointments and funerals…I guess I know what he was talking about now.

      Katie and I enjoyed this walk in the woods so much. We were lucky that we got it in, because a frost hit last night and the leaves are all falling today. But she’s glad it’s cooler out, so I won’t complain. Does Peasy like cooler weather? Or, being a dog from the SW, does he get cold?

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  21. This is a beautiful post, Dawn. I am glad that sweet Katie has rebounded a bit so she can enjoy “her” Fall colors and favorite walk with you. Sending you all love and hugs, and prayers. Please give Katie a loving pat for me… 💕

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  22. Such a charming way to talk about life. Your photos are beautiful, it hasn’t been a pretty fall here. I like Katie’s attitude, and her summation that: “Life is a road, mama.” So true, so easily forgotten.

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  23. This is a beautiful and heartbreaking post. Life is short, and sometimes remembering that helps us appreciate today just a tiny bit more. ((hugs))

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  24. It’s hard not to get really affected when everyone around us seems to be having trouble. You always put such an interesting perspective on things Dawn
    Much love to you and all you’re facing at the moment. And of course hugs to our Katie girl.

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    • Katie says thank you. She says I shouldn’t feel sad, look at all the fun we’ve had. I tell her she needs to live forever, but as a youngster, not an old dog with aches and pains. She says she will be a young dog after she crosses the bridge. Sigh.

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  25. Beautiful post, Dawn. I teared up reading it. Katie is right. Don’t try to figure it all out. Just enjoy the moments.

    So many beautiful images in this post. Hugs and love to you and Katie. ♥

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    • Thank you. This is hard, and she isn’t even gone yet! She has a vet appointment in a couple weeks, we’ll see what her numbers are then. Until then I try not to think about it, but it’s hard not to.

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  26. A lovely post Dawn and the autumn colours were never so beautiful. You have done it perfectly with your last shot. We find happiness when we live in moments. A warm hug to you both.

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  27. The colors are great and so are the pictures. Enjoy the walks and the camping trips with Katie and know you did right by her always. She could still have plenty of time so try not to dwell on those lab numbers. I think our dogs sense when something is wrong with us.

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    • Yes, I try to remind myself that she has had an extraordinary life and done so many more things than she might have with other fur moms and dads. She’s traveled to Florida and met her boyfriend, and walked on the Atlantic Ocean beach, and then in Alabama where she got to go for boat rides and bark at waves, and she’s camped all over Michigan, and saw the Mackinaw Bridge, she’s run on the shores of two Great Lakes, she’ hiked in all sorts of woods, she’s slept upside down on beds, and inside tents. She has a big beautiful yard to guard from squirrels and rabbits. And she has 4 of her own bed scattered around the house in all the best places. Can’t beat all of that.

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