“The Dash”

19 03 2009

I read this popular poem at a celebration gathering yesterday…it highlights not only the brevity of life but investing in the things that you could say are “recession proof”…

The Dash, 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
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 spend your dash?

So how are you spending your “dash” my friend?

 

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4 responses

19 03 2009
Cindy Holman

Isn’t it interesting that our life comes down to that little “dash”? Wow – I hope my “dash” will count for something – when all is said and done.

22 03 2009
Greg Holman

Me too! Interesting how life can be just that; a “dash” between being born and our final breath. We dash here and there trying to make a living and just “doing life” without giving it much thought. Some good advice for all of us is to slow down and engage in healthy self-examination; to learn to stop and smell the roses!

15 10 2009
Hugh O'Donnell

The little “dash” you refer to really puts things into perspective and this has really been brought home to me when I launched Ireland’s first online memorial website. Since it launch 2 years ago I have been keeping an eye on all new memorial pages as they are created and I am now more than ever before so conscious of our short tenure here on earth.

Coming from a country of great story tellers Irish people in general believe every one has a good story to tell. Normally when a person dies we have the wake where the corpse is laid out in the house and family friends and relatives visit to pay their respects. As the night of the wake goes on the stories and life achievemnts of the deceased are told and memorialised. This has proven to be of great theuraputic help to the bereaved family as their neighbours gather around to show their support and solidarity at this their blackest moment. Kettles are boiled, an Irish stew arrives, cups and saucers are washed and dried for the next onslaught of visiting sympathisers. A bereaved house is suddenly transformed into a hum of activity and in the midst of mourning and sadness, laughter too can be heard as some one retells a funny story or incident the deceased was central part of.

The little “dash” gets full expansion at an Irish wake, however it’s when the funeral is over and people return to their daily lives, the bereaved are suddenly left isolated with out all that support they got in the immediate aftermath of death. It’s in recognition of this isolation that I started up In Loving Memory, where people could connect with their world wide net work of friends and relatives and to gether form an online community of support in remembrance of their loved ones. This is probably very important for Irish people who have settled in the 4 corners due to high emmigration and it is because of our love of the written word that we designed our templates and website to fill out the little “dash” and make a big deal of it.

22 10 2009
Greg Holman

Thanks so much Hugh for your comment – I shall certainly visit your site; what an awesome thing to do!
Some of our American “funerals” miss the more protracted “wake” that you observe there in Ireland – while we do generally host gatherings (we call them “receptions”) after a service of some kind, the time frame is much more compressed. Seems that our culture likes to hurry things along a little too quickly. The funeral homes offer something similar called “visitation” where the body is layed out at the funaral home and people can come by at certain hours to visit the family and pay respects (these are never offered in the people’s homes). While many in our culture here would not be much in favor of having the body at the house, there’s a personableness of the “wake” idea that is appealing.
And true, the isolation hits hard once services are ended and everyone goes back to their daily routines.

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