The Blessing of The Dash

Clouds_POD_8-15-14During the holiday season, several of my loved ones have lost those who are very dear to them.  Five of my friends have had family members or friends pass away.  And a few famous people who meant a lot to me have also died.  So this holiday time is very bittersweet.

I have been sad and it has had me thinking about the dash.  In all of our lives there is a date we are born, then the dash, and the year that we die. None of us knows when that second date will be, but we can make the most of our dash.

We can make the most of our life, enjoy the time with our friends and family, try new things, and take risks.  And, we can be blessings to one another, spend time with those we love, tell them that we love them, and live our lives to the fullest.  We can exercise, eat those foods we enjoy, walk in the rain, sing to a favorite song, hug each other, and so much more.

As my friend Gordon D. used to say, never be a grave hugger.  I learned this in my early twenties and it has stuck with me all of these years. His point was to never leave something unsaid, and to be sure to resolve arguments and problems as much as you possibly can.  He didn’t want his friends to have regrets when someone they love passes away.

I try to live this way and make the most of my time with friends and family.  But, I cannot do everything and sometimes have to say no.  And, I am not the best at keeping in touch with people or finishing every task.  For example, I have finished writing the Christmas cards but still have to buy stamps and mail them.  Tomorrow, we will do that.

May we find a way to enjoy our dash and have a great life.  May we help those we love to also have a great life.  May we love, forgive, and actually be involved in life.  We are not spectators after all, but active participants.

May we not wish our lives away or wish we could go back.  May we savor each moment and keep going.  May we help those grieving and realize they need time and lots of love.  There is no right way to grieve or no right time frame.  May we be there for one another.

Quotes about making the most of our life:

  • “Don’t be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of.” ~ Charles Richards
  • “Go for it now. The future is promised to no one.” ~ Wayne Dyer
  • “Every man dies. Not every man really lives.” ~ Braveheart
  • “You may delay, but time will not.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
  • “Dream as if you’ll live forever.  Live as if you’ll die today.” ~ James Dean
  • “The important thing is not how many years in your life but how much life in your years.” ~ Edward J. Stieglitz

To those dealing with grief, may you be comforted and have fond memories.  And, may we remember to be there as needed and to always love.

Life is Short and So Precious

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAYesterday I found out that a high school classmate had passed away.  She had been sick with melanoma.  It came as a complete shock to many of us.  We knew she had been sick but not how serious it was.  J was loved by so many and will be missed.

I wasn’t very close to her but remember her fondly.  She was kind to everyone, always had a smile on her face, and had some dear friends who she has kept in regular contact with since elementary school.   One of my best friends was close to her and part of that special circle.

My thoughts and prayers are with J’s family.  She is survived by her husband, children, mother, sister, and many friends.  Some who have known her since elementary school and others from more recent years.  J is now a lovely soul in Heaven who will be missed.

As my friend so eloquently said regarding J’s death, when you have someone on your mind and in your heart, they are there for a reason, take the time right at that moment to reach out to them and let them know you are thinking of them. You just simply do not know when the time will come that you are not able to do that anymore.  I totally agree.

Life truly is precious and so very short.  We don’t know how long we have or how long we have to let someone know we love them.  Twenty-five years ago, my paramedic friend Gordon D. advised me to never be a grave hugger, meaning always tell someone you love them when you can and have no regrets.

I have tried to live my life this way but do sometimes forget to do so.  And, then surprising news like this brings back the importance of it.  I am going to work to make this a priority again.

Cheers to you J!  It was an honor to know you.  You are loved and missed.  Rest in Peace.

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Making The Most Of The Dash

DSC_0337Hi and Happy Monday!  This was a tough yet wonderful weekend.  We celebrated the life of my precious grandmother who passed away last Wednesday.  Dear family and friends gathered to celebrate this fine woman who I was honored to call Grandma.

The memorial service was a great celebration of her life and her faith.  My father and my brother both gave amazing remarks and remembrances about her, and the pastor who  I have known for most of my life and performed my wedding gave a very nice sermon.   And we sang a few of Grams’ favorite hymns.  We cried and laughed.

My Aunt and Dad found an amazing book called “The Dash” that was used in Dad’s remarks.  It was written by Linda Ellis.  It is truly touching and I cry each time I read it.   Here are the words to “The Dash”…

“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.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAFor 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 little 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?”

DSC06130Isn’t that lovely?  It is perfect for remembering those dear to us and also has some great things to think about.

My grandmother made the most of her dash and taught us how to do the same.  She loved her family, friends, gardening, good food and wine, reading, and the beach.  She was deeply loved by her family and friends.

She had a lot of life in the dash from January 11, 1921 — March 26, 2014.  May we make the most of our dash as well!