Keep Smiling with Rosie Preston – The Coronavirus Journals, Part XI


By Rosie Preston

The question is: How do you live your dash? This is the 11th article written as the coronavirus rages on, with many states having a large number of citizens testing positive. Many years ago, I received an email with the following poem. It is quite amazing when I ponder the importance of the word “dash.”

When my son was six years old, he suffered from a summer cold. It was almost over, but that night I’m glad that I kissed his face because he was very cold to my lips. I immediately took his temperature, which read 94 degrees. It turned out to be one of those moments when I was thankful to the Lord that I had kissed him before I went to sleep. After I called the doctor, we were transferred to Children’s Hospital in Birmingham. My son was hospitalized for six days, and the doctors did many tests. Yet he was never diagnosed with anything. We were told that he had a strange virus, and eventually we were able to go home. We were very blessed!

But I met some great parents whose children were at Children’s Hospital for different reasons. We formed a bond as we prayed for our children. We also made a promise that if our children lived through whatever was wrong, we would thank God for every day our children lived.

The following poem seems suitable to remind us that we do not know what the future holds. Still to this day, I’m thankful for every day that my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are healthy.

Do you live your dash?
I read of a man 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 was her date of birth
And poke the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the death dash between those years.
For the dash represents all the time
That the spent alive on earth…
And now one those who loved her 
Know what that title 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 refresh…
Would be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?

– Linda Ellis

I tell my children and grandchildren about the important of using kindness, empathy and sympathy during the times when it may not be deserved. It takes a bigger person, and eventually you will acquire the knowledge of the importance of your actions – it’s how you live your dash!

Keep Smiling, Rosie

The journaling book is in progress, so send your stories to

Latest News

Blind Glencoe grad receives Lighthouse Guild scholarship
RaceTrac near I-59 in Gadsden installing four EV chargers
ADRS breaks ground on new location in Gadsden
Community mourns death of beloved Harry ‘Shug’ Butler
Southside bridge replacement project underway

Latest Sports News

Southside’s Thompson highlights All-Gadsden Metro boys soccer team
Westbrook's Machen, Southside's Jackson lead off All-Gadsden Metro girls soccer 
Gaston's Bogle, Southside's Webb highlight All-Messenger track and field teams
Power trio highlights All-Messenger softball
Robby Davis has clear vision for Gadsden City baseball program