"Live your Dreams"  ~ Ellie

We have no control over when and how we arrive in this life. We begin the journey at birth as a blank slate, thrust into the world with our eyes barely open and our senses ready to come alive. Then, when we leave this world, with all the many things we've learned and done, what lingers beyond our time here, all that truly remains, are the lives we've touched... and the memories held tightly by those with whom we surrounded ourselves.

When we pass on, it seems bittersweet that we are memorialized simply with two numbers--the year our journey began, and the year it ended. However, the dates are merely markers. What really counts is that little dash that separates them. That small dash, which represents the span of time one takes on their incredible journey. That seemingly insignificant dash represents an entire lifetime of memories, experiences, lessons, successes and failures. I see it as our own personal time capsule, containing and symbolizing every moment we have ever lived between those precious dates.

Ellie's dash was incredible. She embraced life in a special, beautiful and vibrant way. She lived her dash with more energy, passion and compassion than anyone I've ever known. Her dash has inspired me to make my dash fuller, to include what I saw, admired and loved of her into my own dash. I don't know what is next for Ellie, but whatever it is, I am absolutely certain she is also living it to the fullest.

- Stephen Oachs