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The dash.

Such a small, simple mark. Representing a lifetime.

Mine began on October 17, 1956 and God only knows when it will end.

In many ways it seems appropriate that an entire life is represented by such a small mark. To me it shows that no matter the length of the life, in light of eternity, it is brief. A breath.

When looking at a grave marker or reading of a life from the past I tend to look at the date when that life began, and when it ended. Thinking of its place in history or the length of the life lived.

But I find that I’m more interested in what that little mark in between represents.

The dash.

The life lived. What it entailed. How was it used? What was its purpose? What did it leave behind?

My Mom is in the last days of her life. Her dash will soon be followed by a date. Her days of choice are over. She has drifted.

I don’t tend to think so much of when her life began, or when it might end. I think more of what was in between. The dash.

Which brings me to think that one day, sooner or later, my dash will be followed by a date. The dash will then represent my life on earth.

What will it say?

The difference between my Mom and myself at this moment in time is that I still have minutes, days or years to affect how it is used. I still have choices. I can live it out consciously.

Will I use it for myself or others? Will I bring glory to myself or my Maker? Will I live it alive and grateful or desperate and bitter?

Will it matter?


After I wrote that last line I received the call that my Mom had passed. There is now a date at the end of the dash.

So I think, what does the dash between February 20, 1928 and June 15, 2022 represent?

It represents much joy and much sorrow. It is the life of a strong woman. She lost her parents young. She became a widow at 53. Then she lost the spouse of a sweet, short marriage that came very late in life. She was independent and wanted to be that way as long as possible. She was loved by many. And loved many. She gave. And gave. And gave. She faced what was before her knowing she didn’t face it alone. Her faith and comfort were always in God. She never doubted His presence. Even in the last years when there was much time spent alone, she said that she just talked to Him out loud throughout the day. Many people’s lives were made better because she was here. She lived by faith. She shared her faith.

Now she is home.

There is joy and sadness all wrapped up together. I can’t separate the two.

So I consider my time that remains.

The dash.

An opportunity of a lifetime.

  • Anne Anthony says:

    What an incredibly poignant tribute to your mother. Thank you for sharing. So sorry for your loss.

    • I had an art teacher in Memphis named Anne Anthony. 🙂 in the 80s.

  • Jennifer Rankin-Graham Crismon says:

    And your mother raised a man of deep Faith – her crown sparkles!

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