AW

The Dash

In Family, Inspiration and Motivation, Life Lessons, Pursuit of Happiness on February 17, 2010 at 12:27 pm

Every so often, I come across something that I find truly moving and/or inspiring.  Today was one of those days.  Early this morning, I logged onto Facebook and scrolled through the usual plethora of updates.  As I skimmed the page, I noticed a note posted by one of my friends from college…a fellow founding father of my fraternity (to be more specific).

It’s hard to believe how quickly time has passed.  I met this friend in my freshman year of college, but I’ve known him for almost twenty four years now (more than half my life).  We lost touch after college, but have reconnected through Facebook (as so many of us have).  While we haven’t seen each other in many years, I have no doubt that if we got together, we could easily just pick up where we left off.  It seems to be normal for me to be able to do that.  I’ve actually discussed this with a friend who I only speak to from time-to-time, and he feels that it is just the way that guys are wired.  He may be right.

The note that I read this morning was a eulogy that my friend gave to one of his lifelong friends who passed away recently way before his time.  My friend mentioned how he had only spoken to his friend from time-to-time, but that they always just picked up right where they left off as if no time had elapsed whenever they spoke or got together.

In his eulogy, my friend read a poem called “The Dash” (by Linda Ellis).  The poem was written in 1996, and has since traveled the world and reached literally millions of people.  When you read the poem, you can’t help but stop and take a moment to think about your life.

Reading this poem today, I started to think about the losses that I’ve experienced…losses that have changed my life forever.  In fact, Waldo2010 was launched in large part because of the painful reminder that I had recently that none of us is guaranteed tomorrow.  It inspired me to make real and permanent changes in my life.  I only wish that it didn’t take the tragic loss of a little girl named Olivia Grace Armand for me to have my epiphany.

Please take a moment to read “The Dash”

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 second with tears.
But he said that 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 mid-range.”
If we could just slow down enough to consider
What’s true and what’s 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 pleased with the things they have to say
About how you spent your dash?

In the coming month, I will be thinking about this poem as I remember my father on his birthday, and my grandmother on the one-year anniversary of her passing.  March also marks the one-year anniversary of the passing of our family dog.  All of these remembrances are just another reminder how quickly “the dash” goes by, and that we need to make every moment count.

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  1. Thanks for a great read and a good life lesson. I’m sure Olivia Grace would approve.

  2. Once again, you got me all ferclempt. Could you please put this blog post Olivia’s Facebook page?

    Friendfuneralista — Adam came back into my life for a reason after all of these years. My daughter Olivia knew I would need him!! I am very humbled to be his friend.

    MUAH!

  3. WOW!

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