mountains and tree range during golden hour

Ten Sunrises

My uncle once said, “how many more times am I going to see you? Ten?” I’d never considered the finitude of that relationship. Within a few years, his brother, another uncle of mine, died. He was 54. I saw him fewer than a dozen times in that period.

After he said that, I thought about things I rarely did and people I rarely saw. How many more times would I see them again? Ten? Fewer?

I saw sunsets nearly every day, but it was rare for me to wake up early enough to see sunrises. “How many more times am I going to see a sunrise?” I thought. “Ten?”1

Both my parents had health scares this past year that made me contemplate my own mortality more and more. I’m fine. I don’t expect to die soon. But I’d be fine if I did.

There is a number of times you will see each of your loved ones again. None of us know it (hopefully), but it’s there, ticking down each time. If you live close to the people you love, the number may be large enough you don’t have to think about it.

If you live very far away or have stopped talking to a person you love, that number may be very small indeed.

It may be zero. There are people you’ve seen or spoken to for the last time. I hope you said you loved them and goodbye. If not, reach out soon and do that.

Oh. Hey. By the way. I love you. goodbye

  1. Fun fact about getting older and/or having a drinking problem: you wake up a lot earlier than you want a lot more often. I’ve seen literal hundreds of sunrises since I had this thought and it never ceases being ironic. []

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