Collateral Beauty

Apr. 2, 2017

Please share your insights and experiences on my Facebook page at:

In the movie, Collateral Beauty, we meet Howard Inlet (Will Smith) on top of the world.  He if full of life, passion, and the oblivious certainty that life lies ahead down a golden path strewn with all things bright and beautiful.  In the very next scene we see him three years later, drowning in misery after the death of his 6-year-old daughter.  He is trapped in the grief and is on the verge of losing everything.  No one who is grieving the loss of someone they love can watch this movie without being touched.  Howard meets Madeline (Naomie Harris) at a support group meeting.  Madeline has also lost her daughter.  She tells Howard about a brief encounter she had with a stranger as she sat in the hallway outside her daughter’s room.  She was waiting for the staff to prepare her daughter for the removal of life support. Madeline’s husband was in the parking lot comforting her mother, who had fallen apart.  The stranger asked Madeline who she was losing.  She told the woman she was losing her daughter.  The woman told Madeline, “Don’t forget to look for the collateral beauty.”  Despite Madeline’s assurance that she could now see the collateral beauty, Howard wasn’t having it. 

I realized as I watched that movie, that Butch and I had an opportunity to see some of that collateral beauty even before his death in 2016.  He could have died in 2007 or 2008.  He was dead on the sidewalk in Davis in 2010.  Had he not been so close to emergency services, that would have been it.  I was granted the miracle of borrowed time, three times. After each incident, anytime he apologized for anything at all, I would say, “It doesn’t matter.  Just don’t die.”  Somehow, everything fell into perspective relative to his being gone from my life. Without idealizing things, I can truthfully say that our level of connection was deeper and more tangible after 2010 than at any point in the past.

Butch had consistently become a better and better husband every day we were married.  After 2010, he kicked it up to a new level.  He made every birthday, anniversary, Valentine’s day and Mother’s day memorable.  He looked for opportunities to develop his relationship with our sons any way he could.  He was visibly committed to building friendships with his sisters and being a great son to his mother.  He seemed to savor his friendship with his bicycle buddy much more mindfully. He spent more time with my family, going out of his way to be the cool uncle.  Only in retrospect can I see how intentional all of that was. He was already looking for the collateral beauty. He was living on borrowed time a purposefully as he could.

Shadowlands is a movie about the death of C.S. Lewis’s wife.  He spent most of his life in his head as a scholar and theologian.  He credits his wife with teaching him to live out of his heart.  There is a scene where they are picnicking in a meadow when it begins to rain and they make a run for a cow shed.  She was in remission at that point but there was no guarantee of how much time she had left.  In the middle of their laughter and joy, he breaks down.  He tells her that he doesn’t think he can take it—letting himself love her and their life with such passion when it could all end at any moment.  She tells him, “Don’t you see that the pain now is part of the joy later?”  She, too, seemed to be pointing into the future and promising him that there would be collateral beauty.  The final scene of the movie shows him sending her son, who he is now raising on his own after her death, off to school.  They appear to have a very close and loving connection.  As he watches the boy ride away, his voice is heard saying, “In this world, we can choose suffering or safety.  When my mother died when I was a boy, I chose safety.  Today, I choose suffering.” Like Madeline, C.S. Lewis was experiencing the collateral beauty foretold by his wife by staying in his heart rather than running away.

Becoming us without them takes a huge leap of faith.  It can feel like we are clinging desperately to the pain as if it is a rope, dangling over a cliff, with them at the other end.  Everything in us tells us that clinging to the pain like won’t do any good.  They are not actually at the other end of the rope.  Nothing, including clutching that rope, will bring them back.  It’s exhausting and futile.  But what will really happen if we let go?  Will they and everything they were to us disappear into the abyss?  And who will we be without that rope in our hands?  What if there is no version of us without them that is worth bothering to find?    Our companions on the journey of grief give us the courage and faith to release them from our grip.  They promise us that when we let go, our love ones soar rather than crashing.  The dark veil of hopelessness is torn and the light breaks through.  The love they poured into us slowly fills the empty spaces that were festering with pain and sadness.  We finally see that what feels like a life without them is really a life overflowing with them.  We can begin to live intentionally, savoring each moment, treasuring each relationship, living each day as the gift it really is, filled with the most amazing collateral beauty. 

And in the meantime, as we fight our way out of the darkness, God sends us angels who gently tell us, “Don’t forget to look for the collateral beauty.” 

Share this page

Little Brother

Mar. 30, 2017

Little Brother

Butch was the big brother in my family.  He was the baby brother in his.  His oldest sister is 9 years older.  He and his other two sisters were all born in 4 years.  Both Butch and the sister just before him were born with the roof of their mouth split. She required surgery because hers was so severe.  His healed on its own.  This meant that their mom had her hands very full.  Both of his parents worked full time and his parents were separated for a period while the kids were young. 

With everything that was going on, Butch’s oldest sister, like so many first daughters, found herself carrying a lot of the parenting load.  He always saw her as more like a mother than just a big sister.  She is definitely a safe harbor for me.  When Butch was stationed at Fort Ord in Monterey and we were driving home from a camping trip while he was on leave, we broke down in Vallejo late at night.  She and her husband drove to get us and helped us figure out what to do next.  They even survived two of us girls, delirious with exhaustion, repeatedly singing , “Oh Lord, stuck in Vallejo again.” When Butch and I were hit by a drunk driver in Oakland while I was with him in the diesel and I was seriously injured, she and her husband again drove to get us.  When we had problems in our marriage and were briefly separated she managed to hold a neutral position, supporting him as his big sister and supporting me as if she was mine.  She is a wonderful artist, sharing her talents in patient lessons and amazing gifts.  Our granddaughters receive beautiful hand-made heirlooms for birthdays and Christmas.  We each knew that no matter what we needed, if it was humanly possible for her to meet that need, she would be there. He worked hard to reciprocate that whenever he could. He grew closer to her over the last ten years.  He loved her very much and treasured the friendship they developed.  She dropped everything after his heart attack and spent every minute she could with all of us until his death.  Her lovely daughter and son-in-law have been there in big and small ways when I needed them every time I asked.

His second sister was sort of Margaret to his Dennis the Menace.  They had a love-hate relationship as children.  He told the story of running over her feet with his bicycle one summer day.  She swiftly whacked him in the back of the head with her coke bottle, dropping him to the street.  She casually strolled into the house and announced “I just killed Butch”. Another time they were bickering and torturing one another and she threw her fork at him.  It stuck in the wall next to his head.  He was a very sound sleeper and could get up to do things quite well without ever waking up.  On at least one occasion, he made a wrong turn on the way to the bathroom and mistook her head for the toilet.  She agreed to be an attendant in our wedding.  With only three weeks advanced notice, she took the maid of honor’s dress home and made a matching dress for herself with no pattern.  They, too developed a more amicable relationship over the years.  She and sister number three participated on a team in the Eppie’s Great Race alongside Butch in the Iron Man Division.  She was generous with both of us and would cheerfully do what she could if we needed her.  She always wanted to go white water rafting on the Colorado River so she gave him a gift certificate for a rafting trip with her for his birthday one year.  He took me along and we had a wonderful adventure together.  Despite having serious back problems, she, too, suspended her life and stayed with us for the nearly three weeks keeping vigil between his heart attack and his death. 

His youngest sister, just eighteen months his senior, was his co-conspirator when they were young.  She called him “little brother” all his life.  At one point, Butch, his father, and this sister lived in Auburn with their paternal grandparents while his mom and the older girls lived in San Diego.  One afternoon the two kids were “helping” their grandfather clean out the barn.  During lunch, he announced that the barn was so much work, he should just skip the cleanup and burn the thing to the ground.  Butch and his sister happily granted him his wish, lighting the barn on fire while he finished lunch. Not long after getting her driver’s license, she let Butch drive one night.  He lost control and went into someone’s yard, taking out a large section of fence.  Not only did she cover for him (and herself), but she paid for the fence. She let us live with her when we returned from Texas and he was not yet employed. When she turned 50 he rode his bicycle to Bakersfield to surprise her for her birthday.  Sister number one and her daughter met him on the outskirts of town with a banner to ride through to celebrate his long journey.  Whenever he was recuperating from one of his injuries or surgeries he would spend part of the down time visiting her.  She is one of the most generous people you could ever meet. Her home is always open, including a fabulous beach house that looks like a spread for Sunset Magazine.  After his heart attack, she put all of us up in the Holiday Inn Express across the street from the hospital, saving us a short but perilous commute over the pass between North Carson City and South Reno where we were staying with my brother and his family.  She contributed substantially to my financial stability until the life insurance money kicked in.  I will always be in her debt.

As we were all meeting together to make decisions, my oldest son said, “I just have one request, mom.  We are already losing dad.  Please don’t do anything that will cause me to lose my aunts and my grandmother too.” That would have been a terrible loss for all of us. 

Becoming us without them means finding our place in our second family on our own. It means continuing family traditions and holiday celebrations that were important to us while they were alive despite the empty chair at those tables too.  This second family is potentially one of the best sources of support for us after they are gone.  These are people who hold the story of us in their hearts because they are part of that story.  They genuinely share our pain.  It is their loss too.  They will not be among those who will hurry us along in our mourning.  Rather, they can walk beside us in a way that few others can. Losing them would be like having another piece of our loved one taken from us.  Maintaining those relationships allows us to remember them through the eyes of others who loved them as much as we did.  People who knew and loved them all their lives help us remember who they really were instead of an idealized version that ceases to be truly them over time.  They can also help us find ourselves again because they know us so well.

When I get lost in feeling like I am invisible now without him, I remember that I was adopted into his family when I was 17 years old and I have a place there for as long as I live.  


Mar. 27, 2017

Reading about loss, you learn that there is a different experience when the death is sudden and unexpected. While losing someone you love is a terrible thing no matter how it happens, there are opportunities to put things to rest when death is predicted. Not everyone takes advantage of that time to say what they need to say or make every minute count, but at least they have a chance. With sudden death, that chance is stolen. It is hard to imagine which is worse, having the time and not using it, or not having the time at all. Either way, what is left unsaid or undone weighs heavily on your heart.

Butch’s death was unexpected and yet not unexpected at all. It was his fourth heart attack.

The first time, he was having symptoms for several days but wrote them off to indigestion. When he told me, I wanted to call 911. He wanted to go on a bike ride with his best friend the next morning and then go to the doctor. I suggested that he call his best friend and tell him what was happening. His best friend told Butch to hang up and call 911. He called the help desk instead and they told him to hang up and call 911. He drove us to the hospital, where he told them, “My wife thinks I am having a heart attack.” He was in surgery in less than two hours and home in a couple of days.

A year later, he and his best friend rode their bikes to Folsom. On the way back, Butch mentioned that he was either having indigestion or problems with his heart. Rather than go to Kaiser Morse Avenue, where there was a hospital, he rode to Point West, where there are only medical offices. He went to the pharmacy and announced that he needed to renew his prescription for nitro glycerin because he might be having a heart attack. They happily renewed his prescription without offering to call 911. I arrived at home from work and, not finding him home from his ride as expected, I called to get his ETA. He casually announced that he was sitting in the hallway at Kaiser waiting to see if the nitro worked or if he just had indigestion. My commute home took me right past Point West but he had not called for a ride. I told him to have them call him an ambulance but he said he would ride his bike to Morse Avenue. I told him that if he left that building before I got there I would kill him myself. He threw his bike in the back of the pickup and drove us to Kaiser. He was in surgery in less than two hours and home in a couple of days.

The third attack was bad. He and his best friend rode to Davis. He announced that they should eat lunch because he was either having indigestion from being so hungry or he was having problems with his heart again. So, they ate a leisurely lunch. He went to the bathroom, came back out on the patio and dropped dead. Fortunately, they were next door to a fire station and across the street from a hospital. Because he was in such good shape, the rescue workers decided to keep shocking him well beyond the normal limit. After 13 shocks, he was resuscitated. He had quadruple bypass and was assured that he should be fine for 20 years, because his heart was very healthy, if you don’t count the terrible arteries, and those had now been replaced with veins from his leg.

All of that set the stage for his death. We counted on those 20 years. All of us, including Butch, hoped he had not used his nine lives. Even after the incident, we all clung to the belief that he could come back like before.

I left for our family vacation in Tahoe on a Thursday morning in January. He was already gone duck hunting when I woke up. His hunting buddy later reported that he looked terrible after dragging a cart full of duck decoys back to the truck. He apparently slept most of the time until I saw him in Tahoe Saturday night. We were in Tahoe to rest, so it did not seem unusual that he did a lot of that. He had been looking forward to snowshoeing with our son. They spent Tuesday afternoon snowshoeing. Only later did I learn that as they left the course, he told our son, “If your mom asks where my nitro glycerin is, it is at home on the dresser.” When our son scolded him that he had promised me he would carry it everywhere, he replied, “If it is my time to go, that’s just the way it is.” Oblivious to all of that, I packed most of the unused food in our plastic bins so he could load the truck that night for an early morning departure. He picked up the first bin, carried it down three flights of stairs, walked back up the stairs, picked up the second bin, and dropped on the balcony outside the door. It took the fire department over 10 minutes to get there. Despite our son bravely performing CPR the whole time and it taking only 3 shocks to get his heart going again, it was too late. He lost too much oxygen; his brain was gone.

As I replay the script for that week, I find myself thinking that if I had known any of that in time, I could have forced him to go to the doctor. I could have emailed his cardiologist. I could have checked to be sure he had his nitro before going snowshoeing. I could have checked to be sure he was really OK after their outing. I could have had our son load the car. I could have knocked on all the doors around us and found the RN who came out when the ambulance arrived. I could have done something. The rewriting of the script extends even farther backward over time, now including that I should have contacted his cardiologist rather than his GP with my list of concerns over the last six months. I should have known that our GP would be fooled by Butch’s jock lifestyle and his 20,000 paces per day as a truck driver and ignore the complete list of the symptoms of heart disease I provided over the months.

It is safe to say, that everyone who loses someone close to them has a list of regrets. If we can just retell the story the right way, then someone pushes the rewind button and it plays out the new way, with them staying alive. And when the rewriting of the script loses its allure, the more personal regrets rear their ugly heads. Those seem even worse. Did they know how much we loved them? Did they know how important they were to us? Did we appreciate them enough? Did they feel loved and cared for or overlooked and unimportant? Did we listen when they were trying to share themselves with us or did we miss those opportunities? When we hear the fond stories others tell, we wonder if they knew that others admired and cared for them like that? Did they know that it mattered so much that they were alive? The list goes on and on.

Becoming us without them means laying down our end of all those ropes. No amount of retelling changes the fact that we are powerless over their being gone and nothing we do will change that. It means accepting that we did the best we were capable of doing every day of their lives. What we understand now cannot be used to change anything about the past. As long as we are focused on what we did not do, or say, or know, or understand, we cannot move forward. Even worse, we will be squandering the time we have been given. We have today, this minute, to do a better job with the people that are standing right here, right now. We can live with our eyes wide open in a way we could not before. We can savor the shared moments we are given now because we understand they are precious gifts. We can wring the most out of each second knowing it could easily be the last. It means allowing the richness they brought into our lives to shine as we live the life they would have wished for us.

Letting go and moving on is the hardest thing we will ever do and it is exactly what they would want,


Mar. 20, 2017

About 40 years ago, my oldest brother discovered bicycling.  When Butch saw him in his chamois shorts with a rear-view mirror attached to his sun glasses, he gave my brother a hard time.  He could not imagine himself in a rig like that no matter how comfortable they might be.  He caught the bicycle fever slowly.  My brother gave Butch a very expensive frame he was no longer using.  By the time Butch added one nifty little gadget at a time, he had about $1200 into the thing.  But, like using Chevy parts on a Ford, all those pieces and bits made for a bicycle that was always breaking down.  He was jubilant when it was stolen from our garage and he could use the insurance check to buy his first nice bicycle.  He had long since acquired all the gear he made fun of when he first saw my brother all decked out for a ride. 

When Butch discovered that a friend from church was an avid bicyclist, he was launched.  Over the course of six years, they rode every inch of the distance between Vancouver, Canada and Tijuana, MX.  They slept in camp grounds, not motels!! They came back each year with stories of great adventures.  While Butch was a light weight compared to many of his traveling companions, he and his best friend participated in multiple 100 mile rides all over California. (this friend had the dubious distinction of having been around to be part of Butch’s first three heart attacks) One year, he rode from Sacramento to Bakersfield on his bicycle to surprise his sister on her 50th birthday.  He rode in the Iron Man Division of the Eppie’s Great race for over 25 years.  He always planned to retire at 66 and join his pack of retired bicycle friends in traveling the world on a bicycle.  He was 64 when he died.

Because we had been serving in the role of surrogate grandparents to my niece and nephew in Reno, Butch asked if he could buy them their first big kid bicycles.  After shopping for my six-year-old niece’s bicycle all over to be sure it was just right, he discovered at the last minute that he would not be able to go with me to Reno to deliver it to her.  He spent the day before the birthday party thinking about it.  He came up with a perfect solution.  The next morning, he got out the video camera and a tripod and gave me my instructions.  He put a small blanket on the coffee table.  I started the camera.  He explained to her that he was unable to attend her party but was going to do a magic trick for her birthday.  He raised the blanket, and said the magic words, “Abracadabra, Abracadabra, Abracadabra”.  I hit pause while he loaded our 85-pound dog, Max, onto the table and lifted the blanket back into place.  I hit record.  He dropped the blanket and proclaimed “Tah Dah!” There stood our very confused dog.  He raised the blanket again.  I hit pause. He removed the dog and placed her bicycle on the table in its place and raised the blanket.  I hit record.  More magic words and more “Tah Dah” as he dropped the blanket to show that her buddy, Max, was now a beautiful bicycle.  To my amazement, he proceeded to sing her the entire “Happy Birthday” song.  Next, he explained to her that he could not attend her party, so he was going to use magic to send the bicycle to her garage. He raised the blanket again. I hit pause. He removed the bicycle, and raised the blanket one last time.  I hit record.  He said the magic words, dropped the blanket again, and proclaimed his last and most enthusiastic “Tah Dah” as the camera showed the now empty table.  I then drove the bicycle to Reno and hid it in the garage before ringing the doorbell.  We played the video for my niece.  It took her a minute to decide to run to the garage to see if there was, indeed, a bicycle out there.  She was amazed.  After calling to tell him what an amazing magic trick that was and thank him for her bicycle, we headed back into the house.  At the door, she stopped to ask her mom if we should leave a bowl of water out there just in case the bicycle turned back into Max during the night and was thirsty. 

When it was time for my nephew’s birthday bicycle, Butch and my brother suspended a rope over the top of the house with the bike attached.  After the candles were blown out, the party guests watched what appeared to be Butch, saying the magic words and levitating a bicycle to the ground from out of nowhere outside the sliding glass door.  A quick distraction gave Butch a moment to remove the rope to allow my brother to jerk it back over the house.  My nephew was pretty sure he knew what was going on as he looked up at the roof, but the rope was out of sight.  My brother managed to dash into the house in time to be casually leaning against the dining room wall, innocently watching the excitement, as if he had always been there.  We watched the video again yesterday.  It was so precious.

When Butch received the group text with a video of our first granddaughter sitting up for the first time, he replied, “Can I get her a bike now?”  The group text of her teetering across the floor as she began walking was met with “Now, can I get her a bike?”  Last October she turned 2 years old.  It was finally time for her first handle guided tricycle.  The other grandparents graciously allowed me to buy that first bicycle in his stead.  It was so sad that he missed that moment he had anticipated with such joy.  I can only imagine what kind of crazy idea he would have come up with for the delivery of her first big girl bicycle, but I’m sure he was already working on it.  Our second granddaughter was only five months old when he died, so he missed all the milestones that we imagined sharing as grandparents.

Becoming us without them includes an unbelievable number of these moments.  More and more, as we move through this second year and the years to come, the searing pain is replaced with a dull ache, and finally with a distant longing.  It is our inability to predict which moments will explode, which will be merely bitter sweet, and which will feel lovely and warm that is most difficult as time goes by.  Cherished milestones have the potential to become landmines. Just when we settle into our new routine and sigh with the relief that comes from believing we are out of the mine field once and for all, we receive another blow.  One event triggers fond memories and a reminder of what we shared.  Another ushers in a tidal wave of pain that reminds us of what we have lost. It is at these times it is important that we have included others who are mourning a loss in our support network.  People who have never lost someone they loved will try their best to support us but wonder why we appear to be back at square one again. They may say things that are meant to help us “move on” and “get over it”. In doing so, they make it worse.  Our companions on the journey of loss will know that this is part of moving on.  The only way to get over is to go through it.  If we devalue our experience, deny our pain, or feel ashamed of what we are going through, we only prolong the process.  We desperately need both grace and truth. 

God does not promise to remove us from the Valley of the Shadow of Death.  But he does promise us a refreshing drink of cool water, rest in luscious green meadows, and a feast in the presence of our enemies.  

Driving Through the Fog

Mar. 16, 2017

Butch loved being a truck driver.  When he was 14 years old and a family friend hired him to ride along and help him unload at grocery stores he was hooked.  Over the years, he drove in most states and hauled nearly everything you could imagine.  When we were living in Louisiana, he hauled chickens.  Every night he would liberate one of them along the road.  It was sort of a Robin Hood moment.  He prided himself in being able to load and unload more freight than anyone else.  If you ever had him help you move, you could see that in action.  Watching him in that world I was always amazed.

He had a wonderful strategic mind and could figure out how to get the most in a trailer while keeping within the laws regarding how much weight could be on each axle.  Once, when our oldest son complained that algebra was a waste of time and no one really needed it in real life, Butch used loading trailers as an example of how you use algebra in real life.  When this son began learning subtraction, he struggled with the concept of “taking away” when the numbers just sat there.  Butch got out the silverware and the two of them used it to show what twenty-four take away eight literally means.  In the same way, Butch drew a rectangle signifying the trailer and lines for each axle.  He then indicated the maximum weight allowed on each axle, the maximum allowed on the trailer, and the weight of the freight to be loaded.  He told our son this was a perfect example of how those “x and y problems” worked.  Given that Butch never took algebra and could easily load trailers perfectly without lifting a pencil, it was amazing to realize that he was solving algebraic equations in his head intuitively.  I had always known that he was smart, but his undiagnosed dyslexia prevented him from demonstrating that intelligence in ways the school system understood. 

Most of the time we were married, his employers allowed guests to ride along occasionally.  I road with him on trips covering most of California, parts of Nevada, and one trip into Oregon where we broke down and were trapped there for days.  I even tried to help a bit when I was younger.  I remember once he was sliding cases of little jelly cups to the back of the trailer and I was stacking them on a pallet.  One of them caught, rolled several times, opened, and pelleted me with containers of jelly as they flew everywhere.  When he was working for a company that sent him to Los Angeles and back twice a week, being gone Sunday to Thursday, I would sometimes meet him in Brisbane on Tuesday and spend the night in the truck before he headed back to Los Angeles for the second loop.  Our sons spent an occasional day with him during the summer.  He even took my mom with him one day when she came for her summer visit and I was too busy with work and school to spend much time with her.  My uncle in Texas had always wanted to be a truck driver.  When they were visiting one year, Butch took him on a trip.  He talks about it to this day.  Butch loved having company and was entertaining and funny the whole time.  I can’t look at a diesel truck without remembering him like that.  I find myself looking into the cab of trucks from the last company he worked for as if he might be in there.  That was hard in the beginning.  Now it makes me smile to remember that part of our life together and the wonderful and complicated people I both met and heard about from him.  That was one of the first signs that I was turning a corner on the mourning process, feeling comforted by those stories rather than sad. 

Once, as we drove south down I5 toward Los Angeles, we drove for miles in the valley fog.  There is such a panoramic view of the world from inside the truck, that driving in the dense fog was very unnerving.  Without realizing it, I kept leaning forward trying to see and would suddenly find my head nearly bumping the windshield.  That panoramic view of nothing was so strange.  Suddenly, as we drove far enough up the grapevine to break free of the fog, you could see everything.  I felt myself taking a huge sigh and slump back in the seat as if we had narrowly escaped a collision. 

Becoming us without them is a similar experience.  In the beginning, it feels like driving for miles and miles through dense fog for the first time.  We are blinded by their loss.  We are forced to go painfully slowly. It takes a tremendous effort just to move forward.  No matter how much we want to hurry the process, grief, like fog, has its own timetable and is oblivious to our desperate desire for it to end.  Stopping in the middle of the road is as dangerous as driving too­­­ fast. The sadness, like even the worst fog, slowly burns off; the sky begins to clear.  There are patches of sunshine as the visibility improves and you can finally see ahead.  All at once, quite by surprise, there are bright, clear days where there is no fog at all. The weather changes with the seasons.  If there is fog at all, it is rare and only patchy.  The days consist mainly of blue skies and warm sunshine.  It is easy to see what was all around you in the fog but was just out of view.  We know that the seasons promise more fog next year.  But having weathered that first year with zero visibility, we are never in unknown territory again. We know two things now that we didn’t know before. Even the worst fog lifts and our clear view is restored for part of every day. And, there are far more days of sunshine than fog. 

Just try not to bump your head on the windshield as you strain to see when the fog is especially dense.