Today I stood graveside as family and friends said goodbye to my uncle. Since he was being laid to rest in the same cemetery as my grandparents, we wandered over to look at their headstone before departing. As we stood around looking at the dates and remembering their lives, I was reminded of this poem written by 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.
(You could be at “dash midrange.”)
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’s being read
with your life’s actions to rehash…
would you be proud of the things they
say about how you spend your dash?