Three Hours ‘Til Dark

4th of July weekend, we were in the mountains of east Tennessee with our friends. We haven’t been to their mountain since February of 2020.

We cooked and drank and laughed. We sat on their south porch and looked at the mountains. We played with kitties and listened to birds. We watched PeeWee’s Big Adventure.

Randy and I sat in on band rehearsal. It was the first time we’ve seen live music since we saw Elvis Costello in November of 2019.

All in all, perfect. I mean, except for a couple of hangovers.

We Skype with them every Friday evening. This past Friday, we met up through Skype, just days after we said our goodbyes.

My friend’s daughter and her boyfriend stopped by her mom’s cabin before they took off on a hike of the mountain.

The Bass Player said “It’s only 3 hours ’til dark.”

That phrase stuck in my brain and rattled around there all day on Saturday.

Three hours ’til darkĀ 

I have people who are dear to me who have been going through a painful life event. Someone they love is dying. She is too young to die and the hole she will leave is devastating.

Three hours ’til dark.

It seems that we’ve all been living with that hanging over our head, haven’t we? I hope you are vaccinated, because the variants aren’t fucking around.

Three hours ’til dark.

My sons and daughter-in-law went to see a fireworks display last Sunday at a park on the river in front of downtown Cincinnati. They had walked away from the park just five minutes before a mass shooting took place. Two dead and five injured.

Three hours ’til dark.

How difficult it is to process everything we’ve all had to go through. How difficult it is to constantly being in a state of having no idea what happens next.

How difficult it is to grieve for the death of a loved one when there are already so many things to grieve over.

Three hours ’til dark.

I got the word about an hour ago, that my loved ones who were waiting no longer have to wait. She died. She leaves a daughter, parents and friends. I’m so sorry she had to go. Her three hours ’til dark have passed.

There is something else, though.

Light always follows dark. Always.

It hurts to wait in the dark. It hurts to fear what comes next.

But there is always light.

I hope light shines on you today. Please take a moment to hug someone you love.

The light always vanquishes the dark.


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  • I’m so sorry for your loss. I got a chill when I first read the line, thinking, this isn’t going anywhere good.
    There’s the Condo collapse down here that has everybody with a heart in tears. Then I just finished reading a story about how a cat from the 9th floor, somehow got out and survived. Some of Binx’s family is still in the hospital, and some are still missing. Why is it that you just can’t pray hard enough?
    (Virtual hug)

  • Condolences. Yeah, scary as hell time we’re living through. Out here it’s triple digit heat and drought and the first of the fires have triggered nixle alerts that I have to read and look up on Google maps because it’s hella dry and any close fire means get up and run right the fuck now. So far, so good.
    Run to where is an entirely different question, but this area is the gap between two monster fires from last year and 2017, so we’re the only stuff to burn and Cal Fire is watching us like a hawk.
    And then there is the bear…
    We got some live music on the fourth, also. We were invited to a “whoop-de-do” at our neighbor’s house, and two of our neighbors performed and it was lovely. You kinda don’t remember how much you miss live music until you finally get some. We brought a watermelon and I didn’t even lose it when I found the Trump paraphernalia in the kitchen, as it wasn’t that surprising out here in the conservative boonies.
    A little disappointing to have one’s suspicions confirmed, though.
    Apparently the cat has been terrorizing the neighbor up the hill from us, so he’s under curfew. Three hours until dark, indeed.

    • Thank you, and that is kind of terrifying. No danger of wildlife around me…however that shooting was less than 5 miles from my house and I don’t even want to know how many yards away from my kids. Damn.

  • Wow. Thank you. Thank you for reminding us of the pain and the beauty in our lives, and that we only get to have any of it for a little while. Keep putting that beauty out there. This was just what I needed to read today.

  • This post really hit home for me. My son recently lost a friend to suicide. I know I can’t protect him from this kind of pain, but I just want to hold him and never let go. Thank you for this reminder. There is both dark and light in the world.

  • I’m so sorry your loved ones lost someone.
    I also think about the condo collapse. A young man who was in that condo was a Vanderbilt student, and he worked in the library. Last week some of the people I work with started talking about him. He was very active in the campus theater and was active in other areas, and he really loved working in the library. He loved it so much he was seriously considering a career as a librarian.
    If there’s an upside to “Three hours til dark” it’s that there is darkness we can prepare for: we can get the vaccine, get a lantern, be alert. Some darkness takes us by surprise.
    I hope all of us have some light to carry with us no matter when the darkness comes.

  • Thank you for this very timely message. My brother died yesterday after a brief illness, leaving, among many loving relatives and friends, a devastated 15-year-old daughter. Your words are the words I’ve been searching for to say to her, that there will be light. Perhaps not right away, but I will remind her that it does indeed follow the darkness. Thank you for reminding me of that too.

    • I am so very sorry for your loss and my heart breaks for your niece. If you’ve found any comfort here then I am so grateful to have provided it. Peace and light to you and your family.

  • Thank you for this post. I am weeping as I type now because the phrase ‘three hours ’til dark’ seems to resonate with my soul.
    I am full of fear even though fully vaccinated for those I love who are refusing to do so.
    I am afraid of the variants.
    But still – I am here – I am swimming for my life and so very grateful to read your words. I am sorry for your loved ones. I am sorry for all those who are waiting the ‘three hours ’til dark’.

    Be safe. Take care. Be brave.
    Most days it is all we can do.

By Michelle


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