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Understanding "The Dash"

In this journey of grief, there is a unique symbol that carries profound weight that I haven’t heard many talk about - the dash that bridges the date of birth and the date of passing of a loved one. In that short line lies memories, stories and emotions that shape our understanding of life and loss. 


Let’s talk about the importance of this moment… transparently, with a full heart. The dash can be scary but I promise you, having understanding often sheds light on fear.


I’ve talked about the weight of grief, but I've also found moments to cherish among the heaviest parts of my life. Focusing on the “Dash” has helped me come to terms with and be present in my reality. The dash may seem small and even insignificant, but it has a profound impact. It represents a person’s existence! Their existence includes the good, the bad, the struggles, the accomplishments, and all that you may feel is connected to them. It is a reminder that life is not just about the start and end dates but the moments in between-the memories cherished, or perhaps, those you’d like to forget.


Within the dash reside stories waiting to be told, memories waiting to be shared and emotions waiting to be expressed. It’s about celebrating the uniqueness of an individual, honoring their legacy, and finding solace in the beauty of their journey.


As we navigate the space between the dates, we come face to face with our own mortality and the fragility of life. It’s a gentle reminder to embrace each day with gratitude, to cherish the relationships we hold dear and to live authentically with purpose and compassion. The dash reminds us that life is not measured by the years lived but by the love shared and the impact we leave behind. 


For those grieving the loss of a loved one, the dash can feel like a void that cannot be filled. It’s okay to feel the weight of that space, to mourn the moments that will never be again or milestones that won’t be experienced with your loved one. It’s also a space for reflection, for healing, and for honoring the memories that continue to live on in our hearts. 


In the midst of sorrow and loss, it’s important to remember that you are not alone in your journey. The dash symbolizes the interconnectedness of all our stories, the shared experiences that bind us together. 


I invite you to be more perceptive of the dash, to intentionally slow down and focus on your feelings. Will you be able to notice the smaller moments and find comfort in them or draw a hard line to exclude them? Your memories are valuable and cherishing the “now” is important.


I want to share with you one of the many moments I appreciate during the “dash”. Here’s a picture of me, my dad and my nephew, EJ. This pic was taken in the old Yankees stadium right before they tore it down. I allow myself to feel sadness that such times are gone but this memory is proof of moments that happened during the dash, ones that live on.


My dad and I were big on quality time and we always connected over baseball. The gift my dad gave to my nephew and I were these great memories walking around the stadium (even if he wore his Mets hat).


Can you believe my dad actually stole some dirt as a memento? 🥺


Months later he passed away and that stadium was demolished as well to make way for a new park and a new stadium across the street. EJ and I still remember and reflect on this day that took place during the dash. 


We say goodbye to people, places, and experiences, remembering them fondly after the fact. The old Yankee stadium also has a dash 1923-2008, which is bittersweet in its own way. 


Together, we honor the dash, the space between the dates, as a reminder of the profound impact of a life lived and the power of love, meaningful connection, and remembrance.


Thank you for reading! If you are ready for support and guidance on your grief journey, please email me at info@jessicariosflores.com or learn more about our group support, and mindfulness with holistic services. You don’t need to do everything alone! 



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