The process of living, for each of us, is pretty similar. For every gain there is a setback. For every success, a failure. For every moment of joy, a time of sadness. For every hope realized, one is dashed. —Sue Atchley Ebaugh
Today is Memorial Day and a time to reflect on those citizens who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the defense of our country. Too many of my generation did not return from Viet Nam and too many of the current generation of soldiers are returning in caskets, or with psychological wounds too deep to see.
It is my observation that “Thank you” needs to be accompanied by, “How can I help?” when addressing our Veterans. They/We are not alone in this Post-war world and together we can begin to move forward and heal the wounds, physical and mental, that affect us all.
Life and Death
Sometimes I am surrounded by swarms of thoughts and ideas and, if I am lucky, they are interrelated. That is where I am today and it all started when I saw poem that was posted on the wall of someone’s cubicle. The author is not credited, but here is the verse:
Just A Dash
I read of a man who stood to speak
at the funeral of his friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
from the beginning… to the end.
He noted that first came the date of her birth
and he spoke of the second with tears,
but he said that what mattered most of all
was the dash between the years.
For that dash represents 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.
(You could be at “dash mid-range”)
If we could just slow down enough to consider
what’s true and what’s real,
and always try to understand
the way other people feel.
And… 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 while.
So, when your eulogy is being read
with your life’s actions to rehash
would you be pleased with the things they say
about how you spent your dash?
Two days ago a group of co-workers held an informal memorial service for one-of-our-own who died in her sleep of a congenital heart defect at the age of 49. I was working and unable to attend but I was given a keepsake of the event, which I will wear for the rest of this Swing shift in remembrance of Jeannie, a fellow Free Spirit.
In three words, I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: It goes on.
As I reflect on those who are no longer with us today, one song has been going through my mind. Here is Frank Sinatra from 1965: Telling it like it is, was, and shall be forever more: