The Dash

Have you ever heard of the poem, “The Dash” by Linda Ellis? To say its words are inspiring, empowering, enlightening would be an understatement.

When my mom shared it with me this weekend, I got shivers down my spine — it moved me so. I hope you’ll take a look and find some inspiration in the stanzas of this poem.

It’s one of those I won’t forget … and it’s a good reminder for me because lately I don’t think I’ve been the best wife or friend I could be. Yes, I’m a new mom and have been (naturally) so consumed with/focused on Maya — but while she is in many ways my everything, she can’t be my everything … if that makes any sense.

I know I have some work to do to maintain my friendships and relationship, and so reading this really hit home. I know I can’t be everything to everyone … but I know I can do better, “spend my dash” better. If we take a good look at ourselves, we all probably can.


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 lifes 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.


11 thoughts on “The Dash

  1. YOU are an amazing wife, mom, daughter and friend. Your dash will carry much significance.

    I needed to be reminded of this tonight. Thank you.

  2. This is beautiful. Thanks for sharing! I think we all have room for improvement in some area of our lives. Might have to print and frame this inspirational poem and hang it somewhere in my home to remind me of that.

  3. Oh – and you ARE an amazing wife and friend. You don’t always have to feel like one to truly be one, if that makes sense? Just the fact that you are concerned and aware shows how much you care. 🙂

  4. I love that poem. It’s amazing how, as a mother, those words take on a whole new meaning, isn’t it?

    When you have a second, watch this…it will make you cry!

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