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What does the dash on a tombstone represent?

When we go back to visit family in Oklahoma, I like to go to the cemetery to visit the gravesites of my parents and grandparents. As I was looking at my grandmother’s tombstone, I read:

What Does the Dash Represent?

When we go back to visit family in Oklahoma, I like to go to the cemetery to visit the gravesites of my parents and grandparents. As I was looking at my grandmother’s tombstone, I read:


March 7, 1880 - June 14, 1959

Have you ever thought about what the “dash” between the date of birth and the date of death represents? It represents the lifetime of a person. As I was looking at her tombstone a memory of my grandmother that quickly came to my mind was that, she was a godly woman who loved the Lord and her family. I often found her reading her Bible, serving the Lord by teaching Sunday school, and participating in the women’s group at church where they were quilting, sewing for relief organizations and helping missionaries. 

My grandmother followed the commandments Moses gave the Israelites in the desert, by teaching me about God and His Word. She lived with my family the last 15 years of her life. As a small child, one of my favorite times was sitting on the porch swing in rural Oklahoma in the summer time listening to my grandmother tell me Bible stories and singing my Sunday School songs with me in the evenings.                                     


Life had been hard for my grandmother as she faced many disappointments and challenging times. Her steadfast faith in Jesus Christ carried her through those difficult years because she loved the Lord with all her heart. When I think of the “dash” on my grandmother’s tombstone, I am reminded of the spiritual impact she had on my life.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • When my life has passed what will the “dash” on my tombstone

      represent to my children and grandchildren?

  • Will they remember my love for Jesus?
  • Will they remember that I was their prayer warrior?
  • Will they remember that I walked with God through the valleys and over the mountains on my journey of life?


  • Will they remember the expensive gifts I gave them or the trips

      I took them on?

  • Will they remember that I did not have time for them?
  • Will they say, “I don’t remember my grandparents ever telling me they were praying for me?”


Dear heavenly Father, I thank you for my grandchildren.

Help them to remember my love for You

and that I have been their faithful prayer warrior.

I pray they will recognize that You have walked with me

 through the valleys and over the mountaintops in my journey of life.

Show me how You want me to impress on them Your great love for them.

In Jesus’ name. Amen

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Comment by Malva Birch on June 4, 2018 at 11:09am

This post made me remember that our starting and end dates are not nearly as important as what we do with the lives God gave us, to bring joy in the heart of God. Also, that our time on earth is fleeting - it really presents a "dash" in eternity. 

I had a praying grandmother, but not a praying mother - my mother was plucked from the fire - we praise You, Lord, for Your perseverence in pursuing our loved lost ones. Thank You for my praying grandmother, who prayed for my mother and prayed for me. You answered her prayers long after she went to be with You.

I agree with this prayer for all our grandchildren, please Lord! Bless them and keep them safe and help them to walk faithfully with You all their days.

Thank You that You never forget a prayer, even after intercessors passed on to be with You and the years move on. You do the impossible. We praise You, in Jesus' Name.

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