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Here Lies Dave.

Tombstone that reads. "He Dies Living His Dash""

I’m about to let one R.I.P.  

It’s never too early to think about death, even your own. We all think about death sometimes. I went to the doctor a few weeks ago and I asked him “Am I going to die?” and he answered, “Not today.”  

Despite this, I’ve been planning recently for my eventual demise. I bought some more life insurance and my Last Will and Testament is about 90% finished. I’ll be 54 next month and hopefully, I have another 54 to go. I’d like to live to 108, but you know what they say about the “best-laid plans.” 

A friend of mine died last week at 37. His memorial was yesterday. He left four kids and a young wife behind. He was a loving soul, known for his kind ways and endless selfies. Terry’s eulogy was beautifully written. It didn’t focus on the year he was born, 1984, or the year he died, 2021. Instead, Terry has been remembered for “living his dash.” 

I have seen many tombstones over the years and always noticed the dates. Born on X – Died on X. But a tombstone doesn’t have enough space on it to really expound on the “dash.” For those of you who have not read the poem “Live Your Dash” by Linda Ellis, I highly recommend it. “Live your dash” means to be mindful that we’re only on this earth for a little while. It means to spend each day with passion and purpose…and to inspire others by living a life of joy, compassion, and kindness. Terry was a guy that lived his dash. He will be missed. 

I’ve tried to be that kind of guy too, but many times I have failed. From now on I’m re-committing to “living my dash,” and soon I’m going to write my own obituary. It’ll be a hoot. 

As a creative exercise, I asked my team “What should I write on my tombstone?” I don’t think these people really like me very much.

  • “He is survived by his son, daughter, and an MRE from 1986.” – Derek Fair
  • “Dave gave that horse-sized duck his best shot.” – Allison Nida
  • “People knew him for his wit and charm, but mostly for his love of Bud Light.” – AJ Stuit 
  • “He died doing what he loved.” – Carissa Ghaffari (who assumed I died in a boating accident)
  • “After years of trying to win it, he’s now gone ‘above and beyond.’ Dave will not be at the meeting.” – Jeremy Colb  
  • “He was brass, and crass, and full of gas, but alas, it was his time to pass.” – Erin Rebmann 
  • “It’s a miracle I lasted this long…” – Kennedy Heidel
  • “He lived his best Tug Life.” – Molly Whitfield 
  • “He was always bold but now he’s just cold…” – Art Webb 
  • “He didn’t have a beard, which made him kinda weird.” – Kent Brockwell 
  • “Missed the assignment.” – Jenna Farley
  • “Who’s Dave?” – Caitlin Sherman 
  • “He was a super nice guy, but this could have been an email.” – Andrew Simpson 
  • “Come back, Dave. You can’t go, it’s not on your calendar.” – Mollie Banks 
  • “OOO.” Marita Cardenas, Rochelle Sommer, Katie Rossberg, Leanne Pillow
  • “Dave lived his dash.” – Bailey Broughton
  • “I won’t be at the wake but I’ll be there in spirit.” – Alex Osepchuk