How do you want to be remembered?
Wow. That’s a tough one! But after asking myself this question, I have come to realize that maybe we tend to pour too much into what we want. We are easily discouraged when we don’t know exactly what we want in life or if we don’t have what we feel like we should have at this stage in our life. Instead of asking ourselves “What do I want?” or “Where do I want to be in 5 years?” maybe this is a more important question to ask ourselves, “How do I want to be remembered?” Asking ourselves this leaves us as being self-sacrificing and more importantly, reflecting on the potential impact we could have on others. And I’m not sure about you, but that means far more to me than anything I would want for myself.
The meaning of life is less about how much we accomplish and more about how present and connected we are with everything and everyone around us. It is also less about the work we do, but more about how deeply our actions touch those around us and how intentional we are.
A poem by Linda Ellis called “The Dash” really touches on this topic and is read at many funerals. Prior to working here at the Funeral Home, I had never heard it. But it has really made me, along with many others, step back and think about how we’d like to spend our days between those two dates.
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 first came the date of the birth and spoke the following date with tears.
But he said what mattered most of all was the dash between the years.
For that dash represents all the time that they spent life on Earth.
And now only those who loved them 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 that can still be rearranged.
If we could just slow down enough to consider what’s true and real,
and always try to understand the way other people feel.
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 little while.
So, when your eulogy is being read with your life’s actions to rehash,
would you be proud of the things they say about how you spent your dash?
Recently, I asked those at Mayes Ward-Dobbins how they wanted to be remembered and these were a few of the responses:
“I would want to be remembered as a Christian, Husband, and best father ever! I would want people to remember the work I have done and hopefully I have left the world better than when I found it. My fear is being remembered as a lazy person and I try to wake up every day intentional about that not being the case.”
- Chad Pendley, Owner / Funeral Director
“I would like to be remembered as someone who made a difference in someone else’s life, whether it be in business or my pageant world.”
- Steve Duncan, Funeral Director
“First and foremost, I would want to be considered a good husband and father. And spending my career as a teacher and coach, having former players acknowledge to me that regardless of how many wins or loses we endured or celebrated, they considered me a positive influence in their life.”
- Ronnie White, Funeral Assistant
“I would like to be remembered as a helpful caring person and my dash to represent a sharing heart.”
- Roger Moore, Aftercare Coordinator
“My father told me a long time ago the only thing we have in life that has any value is our name. We get to decide how valuable or invaluable our name is. You can devalue your name by being a liar and a thief and someone who when your name is brought up makes everyone uncomfortable, or you can add value to your name by being the best person you can be and by trying to add joy to the world instead of chaos. So, I hope I am remembered as someone who added value to his name, that when my name is spoken it makes people feel good and brings back cherished memories of who I was.”
- Glenn Hurley, Funeral Director
Now, how do you want to be remembered? And what would you like your dash to represent? Thinking about this will undoubtedly make you want to be more intentional in your daily life.
– Sarah Driskell