Circle of life

This was from a few years ago. Juvenile red fox runny away from crazy clapping man.

We have a family of foxes living nearby. We often see the babies, now juveniles, running through our yard. They are scouting for a meal. I’ve seen them catch squirrels and rabbits. (We are down to almost no rabbits between the foxes and the hawks.) The foxes are beautiful and healthy but there is a sadness that another life has to go to sustain it. We’ve come to accept the circle of life in animals.

Last week a woman I worked with a long time ago (20+ years) died. She was a few years younger than me (always makes me nervous). When I read the obituary, I reflected on the time we spent together.

She was pretty and fun. When we worked long hours around the holidays we would get a little crazy. Rose got crazier than most. She had no qualms trouncing around with an over-sized vase on her head to make us all laugh.

She didn’t have an easy life. She dropped out of art school (which was a shame as she was talented) to get married. She had two children, both were disappointing. Her husband left her for someone else. She managed a house by herself, a son who was habitually truant and a daughter who didn’t know exactly how babies were made (she was at #5 by her early 20’s).

I only knew this because I worked with her for several years. She didn’t whine. Nor was she sorry for herself. She helped her kids as best she could and kept moving forward to cultivate a happy life. She had a longtime companion (who died the year before she did). She made herself a good life despite the setbacks.

I wondered if her parents were disappointed when she dropped out of college to marry. I also wondered about her kids who are well on their way to 50. Is this what the circle of life looks like in people?

Her kids may have found their way. Neither were listed as having a spouse but there were eight grandchildren and a great grandchild. That doesn’t mean they weren’t successful at whatever they pursued. As young adults they didn’t have her work ethic but that may have changed out of necessity.

Rest in peace Rose. You deserve it. May your little foxes be successful and kind as you were.

56 thoughts on “Circle of life

  1. What a nice tribute for a former colleague. Your post reminds me both of the circle of life and also the “but for the grace of God, there go I” mantra. You have to admire strong constitutioned people who manage to live life to its fullest and don’t spend time whinging about it. May she rest in eternal peace.

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  2. So very sorry for the loss of your friend! It sounds like she had a good life – hope her children did wind up doing better, as you said. Thanks also for the update on your foxes! The circle of life is so sad in many ways – you are right.

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  3. Son $ and Rose saw foxes while we were away. The foxes have not made an appearance since we returned, and I was looking forward to seeing them. It’s probably just as well, because dog Sadie is living here now. We would’t want her to tangle with them.

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  4. I’m sorry to hear that you lost someone who meant something to your life, Kate. Nice to read your synopsis of her life. She sounds like she had a good one despite her struggles, and a great attitude about life even though she had her challenges. I’m reminded that the only thing we have control over is how we choose to respond to what life throws at us. Your friend chose to be happy and kind. A winner at life!


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  5. So sad when we read about a colleague who has passed away.
    It happened to me way back in 2002, a lady who started at the bank the same day as me, but in a different department. She was fit and lived a healthy life, didn’t drink or smoke, exercised regularly, ate all the right foods, and then she got stomach cancer. She beat that, but sadly it returned a few years later. She was lovely, and guessed when I took leave for a ‘holiday’ that I was in fact getting married. She passed a card into my hand on the way out of the office saying ‘If I’m wrong, I apologise, but I don’t think I am’ and gave me a wink.
    RIP Rose.

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    • They do. When they were little babies they were so much fun to watch (just like any animal babies), wrestling all over. Last time I saw them about a week ago, there were two of them hunting in a pair. They looked great so they are eating well.


  6. That’s a nice elegy for your friend. Being a working single mom is difficult, especially when a spouse leaves–and leaves the kids with issues. It’s hard to walk the parental line between authoritarian and enabling, too.

    I’ve a sister who had foxes den under her new porch. She was thrilled by their hunting efforts–first time she was able to grow lettuce in her garden, because the foxes wiped out the rabbits.

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    • Well, there is that! Come to think of it, I haven’t seen any groundhogs (which are the problem in my garden). I doubt if they can take an adult one but they can sure pick off the juveniles. With the pond I get a lot of visitors (even though it’s fenced). Critters can belly under that fence at a lot of places. It was meant to keep out deer and that it does.

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  7. Foxes around here hide out among the golf courses – they see the lay of the land, and do what they have to do quietly. (We are short of bunnies, too)
    Rose sounds like she was a resourceful – and able to find a way to carry on.
    The days are already inching shorter as the seasonal circle of life turns. Thoughtful post and lovely tribute

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  8. Kate, your post/tribute to Rose is beautiful. I have yet to accept the circle of life in animals. I’ve been in a melancholy place a few days and the kindness of your words for Rose made me feel like I need to put things in perspective and pull it together. Love reading here, Kate. Yes, may your friend rest in peace.

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  9. a hug to heaven for your friend… I will think about Rose when the inquisitors ask me the next time why I have no kids. I’m so sorry that her life was not easy….. and that she sadly couldn’t use her talent to become a famous artist… sometimes the circle of life is more a ring of fire ;O(

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