A Blueprint for Living a Meaningful Life

Love, kindness, and making a difference.


The Dash

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?

© 1996-2019 Southwestern Inspire Kindness, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

We invite you to share the poem with your friends and family as long as you include our copyright disclosure: By Linda Ellis, Copyright © Inspire Kindness, 1996, thedashpoem.com. You may not make copies of the poem, in part or whole, in physical or digital form and distribute them without our written approval. Please respect our rights, we appreciate it. View usage policy.

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Dash Poem Memorial Cards
Dash Poem Jewelry
Dash poem gifts

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Live Your Dash

When Linda Ellis wrote The Dash poem in 1996, she had no idea know how impactful the poem would become. What is now widely considered the most popular funeral poem in the world has also become a proclamation to live a meaningful life ardently. The Dash poem is an inspirational reminder that it’s not about the number of years we spend on this earth, it’s about how we live those years that truly matters.

What Does Live Your Dash Mean?

To “live your Dash” means to boldly live a life that impassions you while positively impacting your family, friends, community and even strangers. Your Dash need not be perfect; it’s an ongoing journey to living a life filled with joy and intention, and it looks different for everyone. 

Live Your Dash Products

Today, our mission is to embolden you to live each day with purpose and passion while inspiring others to do the same. To support this, we have created a full line of Dash products including jewelry, books, home décor, and framed prints to use as personal reminders for yourself and loved ones to live your dash. The poem and products are widely favorite mementos in celebration of those who we’ve loved and lost, reminding us of both the fragility and vitality of life from those who fervently lived their dash.

Funeral Home Partnership Program

Funeral homes can earn incremental income through our Funeral Home Partnership Program. Our unique services and innovative products provide a benefit to families and generates revenue. LEARN MORE

Popularity of The Dash Poem

In 2006, a short video version of the poem was created and posted online. Since then, more than 30 million people have watched this video. The Dash book, published in 2006, has sold over 1 million copies worldwide.

Southwestern Inspire Kindness is expanding the awareness of the poem and its message through partnerships and new products that embody the essence of The Dash. Now more than ever, our world needs more kindness, compassion, and people who are willing to make a difference, both big and small.

Download Free Dash Poem Printables