Sunday, June 19, 2011


I heard a powerful story at the memorial service of an acquaintance in late April. The story is called "The Dash" and you have probably heard it. I am pasting it below in case you haven't read it yet --- it seems hard to find on the web and I think it is important enough to be able to find easily.

I decided to send it to my cousin who is recuperating from neck surgery - I am sending her frequent cards and trying to come up with new things to send is a little difficult. I do not want to be too cheery, too morose, too anything. She isn't going to "get well soon" - she has a long recovery. She doesn't need - or probably want - "sympathy" and I am tired of saying "thinking of you" so I am now trying to come up with other card ideas to send in between those semi-generic ones. This is one of those "other" cards.

I really like flourishes and rhinestones; this card has both :) The design is simple and a little understated, but it came together better than I hoped it would. Inside I printed the story; here is the card:

And the text of "The Dash" is:

There was a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend. He read the dates on her tombstone from the beginning…to the end.

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

For that dash stands for all the time that she spent alive on earth… and only those who loved her know what that little line is worth.

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 re-arranged.

If we would just slow down enough to consider what’s true and real and always try to understand the way that other’s feel. We’d be much less quick to anger and show appreciation more and love the people in our lives like we’ve never loved before.

So, when your eulogy’s being read and your life is being rehashed…would you be proud of the things they say about how you spent your dash?

Quite a bit to think about. I now think about my "dash" often - am I living a life that is worth speaking of? Thinking of? Mentioning? I am not sure I am. I struggle with issues of hopelessness and worthlessness on a daily basis and have to really work at not being suicidal most mornings, so do I think my dash has meaning? No, I do not. I think maybe my dash is too long; that I have over stayed my welcome on Earth.

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