Time has been on my mind a lot lately, mostly in all the usual ways: there’s never enough of it, it passes too quickly, if only we could bottle some up and save it for later.

As a freelance graphic artist, I am always racing the clock, there is always a deadline looming, and Time and I end up having a rocky relationship. This past month has been one of the busiest in my 20 years of being in business, which is a good thing in many ways, but whew!

During this month, I was also helping my parents move a dear friend of our family who is 89-years-old out of the house she had lived in for 59 years. In truth, this friend is more like my adopted grandmother. I’ve known her since I was 16, and have always admired her strength and courage. Her story is long and not really mine to tell, but let me just say that she has survived a life of physical hardship and handicap, along with the loss of a young child.

Now, at this stage in her life, she finds herself far away from her only remaining child, and dependent on my parents and myself and a few friends for help and support. To make matters worse, just one week after we got her all settled in to her new apartment, she ended up in the hospital, and is still there.

Last year, right around this time, I found out that another dear friend of mine, a woman the same age as I am (52), and who had once been my sister-in-law, was terminally ill. As the anniversary of her death approaches, I am once again reminded of the loss and regret I felt at not having had the chance to tell her how much she meant to me before it was too late. (Another long story, but for the purposes of this post, let’s say that’s enough).

So how are the stories of these two friends and my never-ending struggle with time related? They are all tied together by one simple concept: regret. The regret that I have felt during this past year after losing someone I loved so unexpectedly, and the avoidance of regret that I have been working toward as I make time (even when it seems that none exists) to be there for my much-older friend, and the other people in my life whom I love, before it is too late.

So here’s my idea for Poetics: write a poem to someone you love, telling them how much you love them, or how much they mean to you, or all the things you want them to know before it’s too late. Even if you can’t say it to their face. Even if you will never show them the poem. Write it all down anyway.

Because love doesn’t care if you’re too busy.

And neither does time.

Tell them now.

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