How Will You Live Your Dash?

People will remember you by what you did, not by what you had.

How many times times have you gone to a funeral and during the eulogy, people talk about the amount of money that the deceased made, or the big boat docked at their million dollar shore home, or even the fancy car they drove every day?


When you go to funerals, people talk about who you were, and the qualities you possessed that made them feel close to you. They talk about what you did to help them and to help others. They talk about how good you made people feel and how your energy could light up a room.

I went to a few funerals last year and two of them really stood out to me. The sermons were almost identical. The meaning behind the words were so powerful, at least for me.

Each of these sermons, the ministers talked about “the dash”. When I say the dash, I mean the gravestone dash. Every gravestone has the date you were born “-” and the date you die.

That dash represents Your Life.

When you pass, the people closest to you and those whose lives you touched, are the ones who know what that dash represents. What that little line is worth. And they will remember you by: your qualities, your adventures, and most importantly your actions.

The minister said, “when was the last time you saw a hearse with a U-haul attached to it?” It was meant to make everyone giggle, but a powerful message lies behind it.

I get so wrapped up in the day-to-day and long-term goals, that I don’t stop and enjoy what is right in front of me. I need to remind myself to be happy with who I am and what I have already achieved.

All of the material things you collect along the way, work hard to attain — is just stuff. And when you pass on, all that stuff gets left behind, and it doesn’t matter anymore. Unfortunately, in some cases, all that stuff creates turmoil in families. It breeds deceit, greed, envy and tears people apart.

But having all this stuff, is the pressure of our culture. There’s a burning desire to consume more, and compete to have nice things, a good job, a nice house, more stuff, giving us a false sense of status, whether it be to “fit in” or “be superior”. This stuff gives us a sense of security – but for what?

We lose focus on what it all means in the end.

To live a full life.

To be kind.

To help others.

To make a difference.

Money can buy you a lot of things, but it can’t buy you a new reputation when you’re gone.

Actions speak louder than words.

Those who knew you and loved you, keep your legacy alive.

They talk about “your dash” and the reflection it made on “their dash”.

Here is the poem, The Dash, if you are interested in reading it.
The message is beautiful as well as powerful.


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