Family

Between the Years


Yesterday, as I read through my daily blog subscriptions, a particular post caught my eye. The post called The Dash on Tales of a (Recovering) Disordered Eater referenced and shared a beautiful poem called “The Dash” by Linda Ellis. I’d never heard of it before, and I think I was meant to read it just when I did.

I’ve been a bit dreary this week. The blah-ness started to kick in on Monday, and at first I didn’t realize why. I thought maybe it had to do with the weather or needing to get myself to the gym more regularly, or perhaps the New Year’s detox I’ve put myself on. And then I realized that this was the week that was leading into the third anniversary of my mother’s passing.

It’s amazing how my subconscious is always aware of the dates that hold significance for me on the calendar of life. It feels like just yesterday that I wrote the post Sixth Month Sadness about mourning for my sweet Mama just six months after losing her, and here it is, three years later exactly today, January 21, 2011.

The beauty of the post on Tales of a (Recovering) Disordered Eater reminded me that while these significant dates may be hard to get through, it is the dash between the years of our lives that matters most. What we do between the beginning and end of our time here on earth is what will be remembered, and my Mama certainly lived a full, meaningful life leaving us with many fond memories.

Below are the inspirational words of  “The Dash” by Linda Ellis. You can also watch “The Dash” movie here, which is the words set to beautiful images and music.

The Dash by Linda Ellis

There was 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 her 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 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.

We’d 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 spent your dash?

Cos that dash stands for all the time
That you spent alive on earth
And only those who loved you
Know what that little line is worth

It matters not how much you own
The cars the house the cash
What matters is how you live and love
And how you spend your dash

What matters is how you live and love
And how you spend your dash.

Today, I am especially going to reflect on and celebrate how my Mama spent her dash, and think about how I can do a better job of making the most of mine.

How will you spend your dash?

 In loving memory of Anna “Nina” Amelia Verderosa Curtis
March 12, 1932 – January 21, 2008

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