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Owner, "MAP Wellness" - a culinary nutrition and wellness company. Writer. Passionate cook, raw food chef, reiki practitioner, yoga teacher, and LIVE WELL educator. ​do yoga. enjoy good food. run. plant food. cook. savour wine. read books. buy good food. love. grow your energy. find peace. enjoy food. have passion. skip. eat food. do yoga. listen to jazz. have presence. be present. bike. read. see. hear. be. live. love.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

October 29, 2011. We lost Dad 5 months ago today.

I visited my Father over this past weekend.  Well, I visited his graveside, and spoke to his spirit that I know is always around.  I do “visit” him often, asking for his presence in the everyday, while at home in my apartment, on the subway, walking down the street, looking for an answer to tough questions in my life….. It’s funny how different it is when I go to the cemetery in Exeter and try and do the same.

It makes me very sad, but also angry.  It is really only when I go his grave site that my anger and frustration about his death really “get” to me.  As my mom and I spoke to once again on the weekend, Pops really is in a better place now than if he were still with us here on Earth with his illnesses.  The ALS and FTD were only going to get uglier, the reality harsher, and eventually there would be pain.  Dad was never really in any physical pain while with us, and for that we are all so, so, grateful. 

Dad's resting place now officially has a headstone.  PEARSON.  1947----2011.  Optimism, Courage, Humour.  It is not pretty, I have to admit.  It is a gorgeous marble, the etching is precise, the wording as we requested.  But what it represents is an ugly thing, and I don’t think I will ever grow to like it one bit.  Mom was less than enthusiastic the first time she saw it too, unhappy with the placement of the text, the size of the fonts….One thing we both agreed on however, was that the extraneously long dash that they put in between Daddy’s birth and Death dates was fitting.  Here’s why:

The week of Dad’s funeral was a tornado of happenings.  I think my whole family existed in a fog, a surreal blur of 24 hour days blending together with a combination of wine, exhaustion, visiting family and friends, and condolence cut meat tray after condolence cut meat tray.  One rock solid figure during that time was our funeral director Colin.  He was, and is, an amazing young chap who guided a group of Type A, mourning women through the steps required after a loved one’s life ends. We really got to know Colin during that brief period, and he us.  The day of Dad's burial, Colin read a poem to our close family during the casket closing.  He said he thought it really spoke to how Dad must have lived his life.  Colin didn't know Dad when he was alive, but got real insight after witnessing the past weeks' events; hour long waits for visitation, lineups out the door, jovial laughter and remembrance, Nylons blasting through the speaker system, a life-size cardboard cut-out of John Wayne standing on guard in the funeral home, Dad's convertible parked saucily on the homes front lawn..... This is the poem:

by Linda Ellis

I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the beginning…to the end.

He noted that first came her date of birth
And spoke the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those 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,
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.

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 little while.

So, when your eulogy’s being read
With your life’s actions to rehash…
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?

I loved this. It moved me.  It brought me to tears. Again.  It is so perfect and so real.  My Father LIVED his dash.  He really did.  And he inspires me to do the same.  To really live.  So, as a reminder, I now have what I affectionately refer to as my "Daddy dash".  It's a permanent fixture on my arm, and a permanent mantra for how I plan to live my life.  I will live MY dash.  Thank you Pops, for all you have taught me and everyone else you have touched in this world. I love you.


  1. Hi Meg,

    Such a beautiful post and beautiful way to honour your dad. I know it doesn't get easier, just different. I hope you are well.


  2. Ah, Megsie, you've captured this completely. Thank you for writing and sharing with all.

  3. Meg...I have heard this poem is your dad and his dash. And I have tears in my eyes as I read your words

  4. Meg...I have heard this poem before and it is your dad...he lived his dash. Your words are wonderful and I have tears in my eyes reading them


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