Life Matters

Life is just a dash

If life is just a dash, how important is it as to how we live the dash? Let me explain.

But before I do, I will tell you how I came to know about the dash. Within three days two people I know passed away. One was a friend I have known since school days, Lexie; the other my second cousin, Leona. Both their names starting with ‘L’ and both with five letters! These are just the little coincidences I notice as I walk through life. Walking through my dash.

It was Leona’s decision not to have a funeral and it was Lexie’s decision to have one, the one she orchestrated and wrote herself. Lexie was 70 years old. Leona was 88 years old. Prior to their death both women lived alone.

Life is just a dash, a passing shadow. Sometimes a lonely walk.

Yesterday I attended the 11am graveside funeral of Lexie at the Toowoomba Garden of Remembrance. There was a small marque set up over the gravesite and seating for around 18 people. Soon after I arrived with my umbrella it started to rain. I was one of the fortunate people who had a seat. Maybe it had something to do with my grey hair! Others, much younger than I stood close by with their umbrellas. All together there were 9 of us, old school friends from St Saviours College to celebrate the life of Lexie.

It was a memorable time as we listened to beautiful music, chosen by Lexie, as the rain gently fell on the roof of the marque. The celebrant was the only one who spoke.

There were two moments that stood out for me. One was the quote from Dr Seuss, ‘Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind’.

Then there was the poem The Dash. I don’t need to write anything more but just share the poem. It tells its own story and causes me to take time out for reflection.


by Linda Ellis

I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend. He referred to the dates on the tombstone from the beginning….to the end.

He noted that first came the date of birth and spoke of the following date with tears, but he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time they spent alive on earth and now only those who loved them 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 still can be rearranged.

To 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 lived your dash?


  • Josephine Rice

    Thank you so much for your thoughts on Lexie’s burial. Interestingly enough on the 1st June I was going through my personal little books where I write my thoughts and I found the poem, ‘The Dash’. I couldn’t believe it when the celebrant read it to us. Kathryn when I turned 70 in February all of my siblings read the whole of the Dr Suess poem in parts. This tells me how connected we all are even though we don’t see our friends often. Looking forward to next Friday. x Josie

  • kjblogstraws

    Providence at work. It is encouraging when such connections happen. It causes us to look at the bigger picture of life – the dots are joined.

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