Betty Friedman wrote:

It is my honor to speak of Ethel today. Thank you Steve and Elliott for asking me to say a few words.

I never knew Ethel well until my mother-in-law Ethel (Rappaport) got ill and went into assisted living. At that time, Marvin and Ethel would spend most weekends visiting her. It was during these visits that I got to know what a lovely lady Ethel was.

I would listen as they each took turns telling their life story - About who they were in their youth and how they became the adults that they were. I garnered so much from these conversations. Ethel was one of the most fair-minded people that I've ever known - she thought everyone should be treated equally with dignity and respect. I am pleased we shared many special times and I am grateful that I was able to give her the time that I did.

My son Adam and daughter Penny couldn't be here today and asked me to read this poem.


©1998 Linda Ellis
Linda's Lyrics

I read of a reverend who stood to speak
at the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on a tombstone
from the beginning to the end.

He noted that first came the date of his birth
And spoke of the second with tears,
But he said that what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time
He spent alive on earth,
And now only those who loved him
Knew 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 that 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
(Your dash could be mid-range).

If we could slow down enough to consider
What s true and what is real,
And always try to understand
The way that other people feel.

And be less quick to anger,
Show appreciation more,
And love the people in our lives
Like we never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect
And more often wear a smile,
Remembering that this dash
May only last a little while.

So, when your eulogy is being read
With your life's actions to rehash
Would you be pleased with the things they have to say
About how you spent your dash?

Reproduced with permission of Linda Ellis, July, 2002