The Significance of the “DASH”

On this Christmas Day afternoon, I share with my followers reflections as I prepare for 2019.

(Birthdate  ”dash ” Date of Death)

Have you ever given thought to the significance of the “Dash” between a Birthdate and Date of Death? I know until recently, I had not.

While listening to a tribute of a longtime family friend’s funeral I had a “Stream of Consciousness” when the speaker asked the question as to the significance of the DASH.

As significant as the two “bookend” dates are, knowing that death does not happen without birth, what occurs between these two significant dates is equally and arguable more important as to our lives and hopefully the lives of those around us.

The “DASH” is a reference as to what happened between these significant bookend dates. What filled the gap of time between when we were born and the day we died? How did we live our lives in the manner that is most important in using the god given and developed talents?

I so wish I had definitive answers to “How to live our lives!” that everyone would embrace. I know that it can be defined differently by so many. Would it not be rewarding and fun to have this type of discussion with your life partner? Just imagine the impact that would make in the depth and meaningfulness of the “US” of that relationship.  Maybe, no, it is a “no” , I should not be concerned as to how others will define this and just be “BOB”, to do as I feel is what I feel is important and not get caught up with comparison as we cannot be someone else.

The unique definition that others may apply are all based on how they were raised, our “Family of Origin”, who we have associated during our lives, the depth of our vulnerability to discuss alternatives and various aspects of a meaningful life. We may discover for ourselves that possibly a misguided definition as to “What Matters and is Important!” becomes apparent and change is in order? All these aspects to arriving at the framework for this question can be fun and challenging and very possible open our eyes to a depth we never imagined until it was vulnerable and courageously discussed and debated.

AND THEN….when we feel great as to our definition, we discover we have not always walked the walk, and discover that the desire and ability to change is by far the most difficult, not impossible, just painfully difficult and relies on trusted others in our lives to make change possible.

I heard a phrase that resonated with me recently, “change does not occur until the pain of the current is greater than the pain of change.

How powerful is that?”

So what are guiding principles that will guide my “DASH” and yours? Are they similar, dramatically different? Have not thought about it? Is it time? (No, it is overdue!);
• Be Kind
• Be selfless and look outward to being happy and filled with JOY
• Be trustworthy
• Have an abundance of Grace and believe in the act of forgiveness
• Be willing to take risk, be courageous and forgo comparison, courage is learned behaviors…learn it!
• VULNERABLE communication is the foundation for success in life and in relationships
• Work on expanding my relationship with God
• Discover my god given talents and use them!
• Be a good steward of resources
• Honor those important to me who no longer are living and live up to what they wanted for me when they were alive. An act of honor I feel.

As for those of us who have lost someone close, what occurred after “the date of death of the significant person in our lives”? This is pivotal to how our own individual “DASH”, the time between the dates of the death of a loved one and our own date of death, becomes a second and very “PERSONAL DASH” that is created and will be lived out.

As I reflect on the death of my father, knowing that the grief has subsided and that he will never return, I asked myself, how best to honor what I had? My conclusion is to do as he wanted for me when he was alive. To excel in life as he would wish in my own personal way and at the same time make him proud. To embrace talents and know that mistakes will be made in our own journey, yet grace, kindness, gratitude and reflecting outward in fulfilling life would be the greatest honor that I can give. To not do so, would be disrespecting all that I had from the past.

Would it not be cool to someday at the bookend of my date of death I saw my father (or significant person lost in our life) and they said…”so proud of you in how you lived after my death, how you move on and found room to add (not replace) in your heat what we had, your honor of what we had, and what I wanted for you was the greatest gift you could have given. Thank you for never forgetting!” That is the tribute I hope I can experience during my “Dash” and hopefully you can as well.

So in conclusion, celebrate our Birthdays, plan a funeral that celebrates, not death, but the DASH!


2 thoughts on “The Significance of the “DASH”

  1. “The Dash”–an interesting premise in itself–but it is the LAST PARAGRAPH that has real meaning for me!

    It has been said that “funerals are for the LIVING”–and that much is true. That last paragraph–”so proud of you in how you lived after my death, how you move on and found room to add (not replace) in your heat what we had, your honor of what we had, and what I wanted for you was the greatest gift you could have given. Thank you for never forgetting!”

    THAT is the best message we can take from a loved one–THAT is the way we should continue to honor them–THAT is the way we should strive to live our life–to live our life to perpetuate that honor.

    Bob–this is one of your best!


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