An Open Message To You, Learning to Live My Dash​

I went back and forth on whether to share this or not. But, ultimately I decided to share these thoughts in this space for two reasons:

  1. I believe people are put into our lives for a reason. I would be remiss by not paying it forward and sharing the lessons I’ve learned with you all.
  2. When I started this blog, my biggest goal was to help people. Through sharing encouraging words, helpful tips, easy recipes, whatever it may be I wanted this space to bring joy, comfort and be what you need to see the light in each and every day…even the bad ones. It’s my hope that these words reach someone who needs to hear them. Wherever you are in life today, if you needed to hear these words, it is my prayer that this helps you. 

This year marks the 7th anniversary of Lolo’s passing (Lolo is the Tagalog word for Grandpa). It is astounding that time has passed so quickly, yet it still feels like yesterday. I could go into great detail about how much he meant to me, my family, his church and countless others, but I think these words that follow will say it best. 

About a week ago, I found myself driving to the grocery store. I don’t remember how I started thinking of Lolo, but the next thing I knew I was at the stoplight in tears. Happy tears, tears of missing him, all the tears. I came home that night and couldn’t shake these thoughts. So, I got out a notebook and pen and this is what happened…

An Open Message To You, Learning to Live My Dash

 

June 27th, 2019

I don’t know what brought you to mind, but the next thing I knew, I was at a stoplight on the way to the grocery store, sobbing. I think of you often, but today the grief pushed through. 

That’s the thing about grief…it never goes away – there is no magic cure, you just learn to push it down, push forward, live. You carry it with you like a badge and when you find someone who can relate, you bond together in your unspoken journey…journeying through live with your grief. 

I cried happy tears, sad tears, tears of missing you. I blubbered while I smiled thinking of memories and longing for what might have been. I wished for one second that everyone my life has led me to could meet you, so they would understand the unmeasurable hole you have left behind. 

I thought about your memorial – the program everyone had with your smiling face on the front…the years marking the beginning and end of your life on earth. Then, I thought about the dash between those years. Birth – death. I once had a soccer coach who gave us a lesson on the dash. He led us on a scavenger hunt that ultimately ended at a cemetery, where he talked about the dash between the birth and death years. He implored us to fill our dashes with something meaningful…make the most of that dash. While I agree, our dashes should be well spent – I think you fully mastered this more than anyone I know. 

You see, some might fill their dashes with dream vacations, big career moves, shining accomplishments. But you…you lived so your time would exceed your dash, so it would exceed long after you were gone. 

You led your church, loved your family, gave to those who needed, mentored, and comforted the hurt. You wanted for nothing not because you had monetary wealth, but because you knew your wealth was in your family. You filled your dash so that we would all carry on with bits of you long after you were gone – so we would trust the Lord when trust is hard to fathom, look for wealth not in material tings but in our loved ones, give to those who need it more, find the best in someone when it’s hard to see, and forgive. 

The years tick by and time takes us further from our last time together on earth. Something tells me you came to mind today for a reason. Yes, the anniversary of your passing is near – but I think I needed a nudge, a gentle reminder live so my life exceeds my dash. 

The next time my grief nears up on me, I’ll welcome it. The aching, the warm memories, and the reminders it brings. How blessed were we all to have known you, loved you and gotten to carry pieces of you with us. 

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