There's a story that I have heard given at several funerals written by a woman named Linda Ellis about "the dash". In this story, they refer to a person's birth year, and their death year, and how those are often looked at as the most important pieces of who someone was after they are gone, but what really matters is the dash in between. For example, if a 100 year old person died this year it would say 1916-2016. That dash in between represents all of the years they lived, the lives they touched, the accomplishments that they acheived and the mistakes they made. This dash is the time they spent on this earth. I have thought a lot about this lately and have come to the conclusion that this anecdote is only partially correct. While this dash is important, it too quickly lumps an entire life together. I believe there are many dashes in a person's life. Sometimes that dash represents a segment of their life that they would rather forget. Sometimes, that segment they would rather forget though made them the person they were and enabled them to live the next dash in a way that helped others and brought them great joy.
My encouragement would be to look deeper than just that dash. Look at all of the dashes for all of the times in a persons life, and then and only then will you be able to see who they were, what they really accomplished and who their life inspired along the way.