Length of Day.

The long, glo­ri­ous days have arrived in Seat­tle. The sun rises shortly after 5am and sets after 9pm. We’ve savored the warmth of the sun on our faces; the sky has been more blue than grey in the past few weeks.

The trade­off is that, in the win­ter, the days are short. The sun rises close to 8am and sets before 4:30pm. Fur­ther­more, the pewter clouds and rain blot out the light of the sun. The days are dark.

These cycles, though, are pre­dictable. We cel­e­brate what light we have dur­ing those win­ter days as we step through pud­dles and under naked trees. Dur­ing the sum­mer, we rel­ish the long days as we wit­ness the alpen­glow of the sleep­ing vol­cano, hike the ver­dant moun­tains, and squint at the sparkling waters of the sound.

Life is not pre­dictable. We do not know if our lives will be like a day in Decem­ber or June in Seat­tle. We only know the length of day after the sun sets, after some­one dies.

When his mother died, my father fol­lowed the cus­tom and wore a black braid around his left bicep.

How long did you wear it for?”

Ninety days.”

He gave me four pieces of black yarn. While on the plane I cre­ated an uneven braid with the yarn and wrapped it around a black arm­band. I will wear it until August 20th.

The thing about death and dying is that, even though you know it will hap­pen, it’s still abrupt.

This is why it is vital that you say what you need to say and do what you need to do while you still can.

You don’t know when some­one you love or care about will die. If you have stuff you need to tell someone—your apolo­gies, your love, your hopes, your affec­tion—tell them now.

We regret those things that we could have done, but, for what­ever rea­son, chose not to. Regret sucks.

And even if you do say every­thing you need to say and do every­thing you need to do, know that it may still not be enough. For those that we love, we can never tell or show them enough how much we love them, how grate­ful we are for them, how much we want them to have hap­pi­ness and peace. When they die, that ache of regret may still per­sist: You wish you could express your love to them one last time.

It will be too late.

I told my mother every­thing I wanted to say in the six months between the time of her diag­no­sis of can­cer and her death. She took advan­tage of the time, too, and shared her hopes, fears, dreams, and wishes with me.

I thank her. And I miss her.