There is a poem by Linda Ellis called “The Dash” that resonates with me.
Perhaps it is that I spent a good chunk of my most recent vacation in cemeteries visiting the graves and crypts of many dearly departed loved ones. I know it is also because I have reached an age and deeper understanding about my own mortality. It is sooner rather than later, and I want that dash between my birth date and final resting date to have meant something, to spend my dash well on life and love.
I reflected on the dashes of my aunts and uncles whom I visited on the east coast at their places of rest. Each one of them had a lasting influence on me and held a place in my heart. I am proud that they were part of my family and that I was lucky enough to have had relationships with them. I can’t believe they are all gone, so quickly. When I look at baby pictures of my mom and her twin, I realize that 90 years has become a blink of an eye.

I hope to be remembered fondly, but realize I need to take charge of that dash to do so. Let go of any anger or petty concerns. Love my family and friends fiercely. And try to be the kind of person that someone says “she made life nicer for me.” I’m a work in progress, but that’s my goal. One day at a time, and one encounter at a time. As my brother Roger always says “l’chaim!” – to life. Because life is a dash.