Making The Most of The Dash

Last night, my son found a box of old photos and a poem I shared with my family in honor of the death of my grandmother.  She passed away 5 years ago.  It brought back all kinds of memories from Ian as a baby, and Kirk and me prior to his birth.  I smiled through tears as I looked over all of the treasures and family photos.

That poem was The Dash by Linda Ellis and I am going to share it today.  But first a few thoughts on my grandma.  Over the last year, I have been thinking a lot about her.  You see, her husband also died at a young age and unexpectedly, similar to my husband’s death.  I never knew her husband (my grandpa) but loved hearing stories about him and what a great man he was.

I wish I could ask Grandma questions about how she dealt with being a widow, what advice she’d give me, and how it was moving forward.  Growing up, we heard things from her and had brief discussions but it never totally registered what she went through.  I have a new appreciation for this woman who was very strong, sometimes to the point of being rude.  She made the most of her dash and taught us how to do the same.

So for those of us touched by a loved one’s death, I hope this poem will be encouraging.  It has been for me and I am so glad that I have found it again.  I hope that we can remember what is important in life and be thankful for that time we did have with our loved ones.  I also hope that we make sure to cherish those who are still in our lives.

The Dash — Linda Ellis —-

“I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend.  He referred to the dates on her tombstone, from the beginning… to the end.

“He noted that first came the date of her birth. And spoke of the following date with tears, but he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.

“For that dash represents all the time that she spent alive on earth.  And, now only those who loved her know what that little line is worth.

“For it matters not, how much we own, the cars… the house…the cash.  What matters is how we live and love, and how we spend our dash.

“So think about this long and hard; are there things you’d like to change?  For you never know how much time is left that can still be rearranged. 

“If we could just slow down enough to consider what’s true and real and always try to understand the way other people feel. 

“And be less quick to anger and show appreciation more and love the people in our lives like we’ve never loved before. 

“If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile… remembering that this special dash might only last a while. 

“So when your eulogy is being read with your life’s actions to rehash, would you be proud of the things they say about how you spent your dash?” 

Let’s make the most of our dash, treat each other with kindness, and always love.