March 28, 1959 ~ April 5, 2018. There is so much about my late wife Lorna’s life that you really can’t signify it by placing a dash between her first breath and her last breath. The Pastor mentioned it at her celebration of life. The dash represents decades, represents learning, loving, serving, raising a family, being a wife, a mother, a friend, and so much more. I got to spend 14,635 days with her—13,858 as her husband. I wasn’t ready for it to end.
One summer’s day, we went for a drive along an old highway following the Red River. As we wound our way back on the west side of the river, we came upon a very old church and took some time walking through the cemetery, stopping and looking at the various names and dates on the gravestones there. I don’t remember the oldest ones, but there were many with birth dates in the mid to late 1800s. Some small graves had a short period between the birth and death dates; some had a longer time between those dates. All had a dash. A start date – an end date. With each one, the dash represents their lives between those dates. The dash didn’t mean anything to me, other than they were born, they lived, they died. But it meant something to someone. There are monuments in cities and parks worldwide with plaques that tell the reader of the accomplishments of the person immortalized there, what significance that person did during their dash of life. History books with information about people or events that happened between this date and that date. The dash. And then there are many whose dash seems meaningless to anyone else. But their dash does mean something because everyone matters. I have seen some headstones where the dash is there, but no end date yet. This occurs when one spouse has ended their dash and is waiting for their spouse to join them after their dash is complete.
This dash of life is just that….a dash….a moment in time. It may seem to us to be an eternity, but we have no clue what eternity is really like. I don’t know my great grandfather’s or great grandmother’s dash. I do know that both sets of my grandparents dared to leave their homeland, leave friends, family, livelihoods, and go to a new country far off in the hope of a better life. They did so as they sought a better life for their children and the generations: a better dash in their lives. And I’m very thankful for that. Lorna’s grandparents did the same, and because of that, Lorna and I were able to be a part of each other’s dash. When my dash is complete, I will have an endless amount of time to talk with them and hear what their dash was like.
Under Lorna’s name are the two dates of her time here on earth. The significance of her dash will be with me until my dash is complete. Now, in Heaven, there is a start date of when she got there, but there will never be an end. No need for a dash. My dash is continuing. No idea how long it will be, but it is up to me to make it significant to those around me, especially to my kids and grandchildren. We cannot influence our start dates, but we can control what our dash represents; and who and how it interacts with another. So that when our dash ends here, it represents our start date in Heaven….without a need for a dash.