if I had known

if I had known,  I would have lingered longer, laughed louder, hugged harder, looked more closely, listened with my heart,  memorized each moment

if I had known,  I would rise, recognize and give the day its’ due,  my full attention, no sleepwalking, no daydreaming, no longing for what has ceased to be,  no wishing for nor dreading what is to come;  the one unchangeable, the other unknowable,  one memory, one imagination

but when I dwell in either place I trade the only thing I have to give, these moments now in which I live

if I had known I would have said goodbye, wished you well, given words and voice to all those things I never tell,  but hold in my heart, carrying them carefully, saving them as treasures till their time should come,  ushered in with pomp and circumstance to mark the moment of their release, so I would know—   if I had known

if I had known

I would have reached out, no holding back, no hurrying on but slowly stopping to linger long,

if I had known

I would have taken note, taken time, taken pictures in my mind—taken my leave properly, there would not be another chance to get it right

if I had known,  I would not have been in such a hurry to move on,  I would give this day its’ due, so ordinary, so mundane,  I let it slip like sand between my fingers,  there will always be more sand, I say—   and I am right,   it is time that is in short supply

if I had known,  I would have embraced not endured this day, this gift— allowed my eyes to clearly see,   no vacant stares— looked closer, unafraid to see the truth and what it would reveal,   I would have taken pictures with eyes that seek to see and remember—  pictures filed and framed in memory’s domain,  there forever clear, unaltered by time’s passing

if I had known,  I would have held on tight and cherished well and taken in my fill—  I would not have held so carelessly nor treated so lightly,  thinking there’d be still more time,  each day seeming much the same, always another day remains

if I had known,  I would not be so careless with today,  slipping away while I am looking elsewhere—  my present now become my past,  not knowing this would be my last

goodbye has shown up unbidden, unexpected and I do not recognize her—  I am not ready

I did not know——     what I know now

if I had known

“Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”  (Psalms 90:12)

sincerely,       Grace Day

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