A very dear friend gave me a Change key some time ago. I was at a low point following graduating school and having a rough go of it in the job market. I had spent months job hunting with no progress and was losing hope. I began to look for work in other cities across the state, hundreds of miles and many hours of travel time from my friends and family. I was depressed and angry all the time. Through that dark period, the key came to stand for the idea that while circumstances change, some things don't; my friends and family and the love they bring into my life have remained fixed points while everything else goes through terrifying periods of flux.
After a few months in my new home, working in my new field, I began to feel like it was time to pass the key on. The changes I had been through had shaped my new life and I was finally comfortable despite the distance.
Then my father died. His death was sudden, completely unexpected, and utterly devastating. He was a healthy man, looking forward to retirement. The decision to pass the key on was obvious. The key now resides with my mother, widowed unexpectedly after 35 years of happy marriage. I can only hope that the key and the word 'change' come to mean to her what it has meant to me as she navigates, for the first time without her husband, all the changes that she will have to face.