In the summer of 1999, I discovered what I think is an extraordinary poem. It really resonated with me then, as I knew my Dad was nearing the
end of his life. I remember calling him and Mom and
reading them both the poem. It just felt so good to speak the words to Dad, hoping that in some small way it would bring him some comfort, peace and smiles. Because I know he knew that he had lived a well-dashed life — full of laughter, kindness, humor, good times, ‘Beef, Beer and Butterfingers’ (inside joke), blessings, and lots and lots of love.
Dad on my
wedding day, June 22, 1985
Anyway, I refer back to this poem often — thinking of him, of course, and also wondering just how well my own dash is doin’. (And what a wake-up call that can be. Because there are times — let me tell you — that I’m not making my best dash.)
So if you have read The Dash before, it’s probably worth reading again. And if you’ve never read it, here it is:
I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of his 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 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 spent your dash?
by Linda Ellis
Dad with beer in hand, daughters by his side, on top of the world (Squaw Valley) in 1998.
Living his dash to the fullest.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad. You are so loved.