The moving account of Linda Ellis’ The Dash
If you haven’t heard of the poem “The Dash” by Linda Ellis, the team here at LifeBook Memoirs highly recommends you find a quiet place, pull up a chair, and get ready to feel all the feels. Perhaps most often heard during eulogies and memorial services, “The Dash” is a moving account of the true meaning of life, and here is how it begins:
“I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend. He referred to the dates on the tombstone from the beginning… to the end.
He noted that first came the date of birth and spoke of the following date with tears, but he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.”
Read the full poem here: By Linda Ellis, Copyright © 1996-2019 Southwestern Inspire Kindness, Inc., thedashpoem.com
When you think about it, a eulogy is almost a mini-biography of a loved one’s life. Too often we push our plans with loved ones to “another day” and too often, tomorrow never comes. In a recent Fresh Air interview with Judd Apatow, the award-winning filmmaker/actor/comedian, Apatow described how he found solace within the personal diaries of Garry Shandling. In the NPR interview, there were humorous excerpts of Judd’s eulogy from 2016, which honored Garry Shandling, who died March 24, 2016 at the age of 66:
“APATOW: It’s been very emotional to go down the rabbit hole of Garry. But I feel like it’s a lesson for me to just think very deeply about Garry’s life and his death and to learn from it. It’s odd that Prince just died because Garry and Prince were very similar.
APATOW: There really were no differences when you really get down to it.
APATOW: Garry was the prince of comedy.
Terry Gross of Fresh Air explained, “After Shandling’s sudden death in 2016, Apatow helped sort through his belongings — including boxes of diaries dating back to 1978.” And when you think about a person’s diaries, that individual’s own handwritten journals, those writings are essentially the pieces of a deconstructed private autobiography.
Terry Gross spoke about how Apatow has a new book: “The book is called ‘It’s Garry Shandling’s Book,’ and it’s a companion to the HBO documentary Apatow made last year titled ‘The Zen Diaries Of Garry Shandling.’ At the heart of the film and book are Shandling’s journals, dating back to 1978.” Shandling’s journals, and Apatow’s book and documentary, are what embody “the dash” and all that is contained within such a small punctuation mark.
Why do people write life stories? Why do loved ones want to share their personal memoirs? And why do we wait until people are gone to memorialize and honor their legacies?
Surely your 99-year-old grandmother can’t write her own book, or can she? What if there was a way for the book to be written for her, but from first-hand, in-person, interactive interviews with her? How much joy could that experience bring to her during the process, and to the entire family after the book is completed and shared among loved ones for all to enjoy? The dash. That’s why.
The LifeBook Memoirs family has spent almost a decade perfecting the priceless and timeless way to embrace the dash of life, but most importantly, while that living, breathing human being is still around to tell the story! Our team of hand-selected premier experts makes dreams come true and transforms memories into the gift of a LifeBook.
Imagine being able to share with your loved one the once-in-a-LifeBook news that (s)he is about to become the author of his or her very own personal autobiography!