Living a "well-dashed" life

Tomorrow, September 13, marks 14 years since my Dad passed away.

(I HATE you, colon cancer. I really, really do.)

In the summer of 1999, when I knew that my Dad was nearing the end of his life, I discovered a poem that really resonated with me. It’s called The Dash. I remember reading it to him, hoping that it would bring him some comfort and peace. I think it did. Because I know he knew that he had lived a “well-dashed” life — full of kindness, humor, goodness, blessings, and lots and lots of love.

photo (4)

{My Dad on my wedding day}

I refer back to this poem often, thinking about him, of course, but also wondering just how well my own dash is doin’. Because there are times, believe me, when I know I’m making an awful, ugly dash.

If you’re one of my seven readers that read this poem last year in this blog, I hope you don’t mind reading it again. And if you’ve never read The Dash, 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 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’d just 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


How’s your dash doin’?

10 Responses to Living a "well-dashed" life
  1. Barbara
    September 12, 2013 | 7:48 pm

    What a lovely thought! Beautiful poem and all so true! God bless your dad. I know he was well loved! So glad we’ve had a chance to reconnect after all the years! I need to remind myself to slow down a bit more to really appreciate all that makes a well- dashed life!

  2. Krista
    September 12, 2013 | 8:02 pm

    I’m one of your lucky 7.. and loved reading that poem once again. What a great reminder of what life’s all about. I need to work on my dash. Re-focus on what’s important. I remember your sweet dad and know he was a great man with a very meaningful dash……!!!!

  3. Lezlie
    September 12, 2013 | 8:37 pm

    Thinking of you Jodie, Claudia and Dot.

  4. Lezlie
    September 12, 2013 | 8:40 pm

    Thinking of you Jodie, Claudia and Dot. They read that at my moms celebration of life. I think we all take our dashes for granted.

  5. Lisa Noel
    September 13, 2013 | 6:55 am

    Beautiful poem, Jodie. Funny how as I get older I can’t remember where I put my keys but some childhood memories seem like yesterday. I remember on a visit to your house when you were looking in the mirror and you said, “my dad says I’m beautiful!” Why I remember that, I don’t know…. Maybe, after all of these years I was just supposed to remind you of what he said? Idk

    • jodie
      September 13, 2013 | 7:29 am

      Wow…Lisa, I don’t remember that, at all. But hey, I’ll take whatever remembrances you have (haha), especially if they’re about my Dad!

  6. Lois
    September 13, 2013 | 11:48 am

    Beautiful! A great tribute to your Dad. It also serves as a mental re-boot, to think about my own dash. I know my parents as well as yours, laid out blue prints for those dashes. They showed us values to adopt for our own lives. I only hope at the end that my own dash does me as proud as your Dad’s did him.

    Thank you for the reminder for a well lived life.

  7. Jody
    September 14, 2013 | 2:50 pm

    WOW! Truly inspirational. Never thought that little dash could hold so many memories, so many experiences & so many thoughts. Thanks for bringing the poem to my attention. I will share it with Don – he’s certainly living his dash!

  8. Julie Mietus
    September 14, 2013 | 3:30 pm

    just the best Jodi. thanks for sharing –

  9. […] blogger and reporter Jodi Myers has a lovely piece on living a “well-dashed” life — full of kindness, humor, goodness, blessings, and […]

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About Me

It's true! Despite playing defense virtually all my life against the onslaught of this sometimes-ugly aging process, it...has...arrived! I naively thought I would escape cellulite (the Cottage Cheese) and crow's feet (the Crepe Paper). But I didn't! And why didn't anyone tell me about this emotional roller-coaster that comes with being an Empty-Nester?! My name is Jodie Barringer Myers. I'm a 54-year-old Friday/chardonnay/ hydrangea-loving wife/mom/court reporter living in Sacramento (Gold River!), California. Writing is cathartic for me. And because I look to find humor and humility among the rubble that is my now very peri-menopausal self, I'm hopeful that you will laugh, cry, learn, enjoy and, most of all, relate to what I have to say. After all, we're all in this together, right?

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