This past weekend, I was in my hometown of Annapolis, MD. It had been a few years since I’d been there, as much as I love that charming town. After losing my parents in 2010 and 2011, I decided it was too difficult to visit a place I loved so much without the people I loved being there.
But this visit was different. I was with a close friend, providing a “highlights” tour of my life. One of the first stops was at the U. S. Naval Academy where my parents cremains reside in the Columbarium.
There’s something very sobering about seeing loved ones’ names on a grave marker. Many of you have experienced it and understand. My eyes lingered on the “dash” between the dates of each of their lives. Images of each parent and experiences of a lifetime flipped quickly through my mind, and I shook my head, once again astounded at the brevity of life.
This beautiful poem, “The Dash,” by Linda Ellis came to mind. Perhaps you’ve heard it read at a funeral; perhaps the words are new to you. But I hope you’ll take a few minutes and reflect on these words as they apply to your own life.