I read of a reverend 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 the date of her 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
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?
Janet Lynn Johnson
April 22, 1969 December 24, 2002
Everyone knows about the tragedy that took place at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut. Sadly Christmas Eve ten years ago, 2002 we learned first hand just how quickly a loved one can be taken from you.
Christmas Eve will be ten years since our beautiful Janet was taken from us due to a tragic automobile accident. In honor of her life we would like to tell you a little bit about how she spent her dash in words and pictures.
Joan and I started dating in 1999 so I only got to know Janet about three years but in that time I realized what a great girl she was. She was a wonderful daughter, sister, granddaughter, great granddaughter, niece, and a great friend to so many. But most of all she was a great Mother to the biggest joy in life, her son Christopher. You will see that
in the pictures of them together.
As most of you know the Good Lord looked out for me and led me to meet my beautiful wife Joan. Well lo and behold on Christmas Eve. 2002 her beautiful daughter Janet, her son Christopher and Christopher's father Chris were going up to Apopka, Florida to spend Christmas Eve with the other grandparents, Marion & Clifton and coming back Christmas morning to spend Christmas with us. They stopped by our house to pick up some gifts. Janet who loved Christmas was so excited and happy. As she was leaving, she said bye Mom and Joe, I love You, Merry Christmas, she gave us a big hug and a kiss and about one hour later she was dead due to a tragic accident on the Florida Turnpike.
The holidays are clearly some of the roughest times we can go through after losing people we love so much. The ways we deal with them are as individual as we are. In Joan's case the next Christmas after Janet's death I said to her, I don't know how you do it, although I can't read your heart and mind you seem to be able to handle this time of the year very well. You seem to have the same enthusiasm for Christmas as you always have. She said Joe I still have you, I have another daughter, I have a grandson, I have other family and friends that I love very much and I can't let my loss cause me to drag everyone's Christmas spirit down.She then said that Janet would be very upset with her if she let that happen, as she loved Christmas and would want everything associated with it and would want us all to celebrate it has we always had.
Holidays can be sad, but think about the person you are mourning and ask yourself how would they feel if you did not allow yourself to go on and continue to celebrate Christmas the same way you did when they were alive. I bet you that they would want you to enjoy family, and friends and the joy of the season as you did when they were here.
Janet we miss you so much and we love you dearly but in your honor we are going to celebrate just as if you were still with us, because we know that is what you would want us to do.
I know this is the message you have for us:
Keep my memories with you, for memories never die. I will be there with you, when you look across the sky. I will be there in the clouds, in the birds that fill the air, in the beauty of a fragrant rose, you will find my memory there-. You will feel me in the tenderness of a tiny baby's touch, you will hear me if you listen in the twilight's gentle hush. When your heart is heavy and you feel you are alone, just reach down deep inside you for your heart is now my home. I will always be with you, I will never go away, for I will live in your heart forever and a day.
You have two beautiful nephews that were born after you were gone, Carter & Griffin and I just know that you would have loved them dearly and been the best Aunt ever.