​There is a poem written by Linda Ellis called “The Dash”. It’s about a man who lost a friend and stands at his graveside contemplating the dates engraved on the tombstone. Looking at the date of his friend’s year of birth and the year of his death, he believed that what mattered most were the years that happened in between — the dash of time that we spend on earth.

More and more, I see families taking the time to honor “the dash” in their loved one’s life. The funeral service is still a gathering for people to grieve and comfort one another, but now it seems that part of that comfort includes celebrating the “dash” years. Some families do this with a simple photo montage, others bring in special mementos or hobby-related items.

As you choose how you wish to mourn, honor or celebrate your loved one, take a moment – even a private one – to recognize how they spent their dash of time on earth. Somewhere in those years, in some way, we all lived Great Lives.

See how some of our families are Celebrating Great Lives.