The Dash


I have been working with Mt. Rose Health Center Palliative Care and Hospice on developing Outreach programs that emphasize the importance of opportunities for living a full life, especially for “olders” in our community. This is particularly timely as the two counties that we serve are amongst the oldest in the state.  The population of “olders” in Huerfano County is 54% of the total population; Las Animas County is 46%.

What is being done to assure that half of the citizens in our counties are offered opportunities to be seen, heard, honored, and enriched?  These are the very things that our Mindful Aging Project (MAP) is seeking to address.  We are listening to the elders.  We hope to be able to address some of the many needs through cooperation with other agencies in the area in maximizing existing programs as well as creating new options.

Mt. Rose is an organization that not only embraces innovation but does so with compassion.  We are sharing the following poem with permission for us all to stop and think about the importance of the “Dash”, not only in our individual lives, but also in the lives of those around us. Follow our efforts to make a difference in our communities!


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 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.

For that dash represents all the time they spent alive 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 still can be rearranged.

To 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 lived your dash?

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We invite you to share the poem. Please include this credit line: By Linda Ellis, Copyright © 2020 Inspire Kindness,

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