a tree and a stone.

to be honest i was a little confused when i signed up for philosophy classes at university. i thought that there would be actual classes to help you figure out what our own personal philosophies were. as if the classes asked you tough questions that you had to go research and come up with your own conclusions. man was i ever wrong. we just learned about dead guys who came up with the answers to questions no one asked.

since then i have always wanted to write a book. with no answers, just a series of questions. even aristotle said "the unexamined life is not worth living,' but he never really told us how to examine life. he just said to do it or die. today i was reading through a book and i hit several tough questions, ones that took me back and made me really think, stare up at the coffee shop ceiling and even tear up a little when answering them. (its weird to think of ones own death).

so here is your assignment for the day. it would be really cool if you do this in the comments but i understand if somethings are personal and should be kept between the pages of your own journal.

answer below. expound as much as possible.

1. imagine that you are standing in a graveyard looking at your own tombstone. now write the epitaph you would like to see there. begin with the words "here lies..."

2. write your own obituary (don't make it brief). how do you want people to think of your life, to remember you?

3. what legacy would you like to leave when you die?

know thyself,


Chris said…
wow, i have modesty saved as a favorite at work so I can get some words of wisdom during the day...I'm going to have to think about this one and get back to you later! I have read these questions before, but have never put my thoughts on paper.
ivy-orion said…
Thanks for posting this...
I'm going to journal my answer. ^_^
Once I get done, I'll probably share........ :P
malinna said…
this is really "deep," seriously! but, i must be honest... philosophy class was my absolute favorite class. there were no right or wrong answers and it was just mind bending and eye opening.

as far as answering those questions... here goes...

1. imagine that you are standing in a graveyard looking at your own tombstone. now write the epitaph you would like to see there. begin with the words "here lies..."

what's weird about this one is that i'm not going to have a headstone. i'm going to be buried at sea. honestly. there is a place in florida (and other places) that takes your cremated ashes and mixes them w/concrete and forms them into a coral or sorts. this is then deposited into the sea and it feeds oceanlife. my kids have known my wishes for years and this way, i'll always be with them... when they get salt in their eyes from swimming in the ocean - they can say "oh, i've got mom in my eye!" corny, i know. but, i truly believe we came from the ocean and this is where we will return. there was a great quote by john f. kennedy that states something like this... We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch - we are going back from whence we came.
John F. Kennedy
omg... this is so weird, paperthin hymn just came on sirius 21... geez!

2. write your own obituary (don't make it brief). how do you want people to think of your life, to remember you?

i would want to remembered as a loving, caring, compassionate wife, mother and friend. who helped others before herself and tried to live by the golden rule. also one who tried to give back to the community and was passionate about the outdoors and animals.

3. what legacy would you like to leave when you die?

now, this one sorta freaks me out. legacy... hmmmm... to instill a sense of wonder and awe in my children. that they would go on after i'm gone and do good in the world. and remember that money isn't everything. sure it helps make things more comfortable, but in the end you can't take it with you and it definitely doesn't take the place of you!
i just lost my father recently, and being an only child i believe this is why i spend so much time with my four children. i am so blessed that they are close to me and healthy and happy. legend... wow, that's such a heavy word. my hero is and always be my father and he is and was a legend - a man married for 52 years to my mother, who had MS and diabetes and spent the last 10 years of her life in a nursing home. he moved to the retirement village just to be by her side. HE is a legend. I don't know of many spouses who would do this today for their wife/husband. so, if i had to leave behind a legacy... it would be this.

stephen, i'm sorry this is so long, but i guess because i'm older than most of your fans - i'm a little more "seasoned!" hope you don't mind reading all this!!
stephen. this was a much needed eye-opening post. i thought about my life, and if it were to end right now, what would people say? how would i be remembered? there are no answers to this that would set me apart from any other young girl's tragic death. and i think that's kind of sad. what differences have i made in this world, what accomplishments? i am about to graduate college, and i feel like life after being a kid has been just me trying to figure out who i am and what i want to do. 20 years is young, but it's also a lot of time to embark upon the world & make a difference, to do something productive. to feel like someone completely and utterly different. i can not answer the questions you posted, only because i don't like the answers. all hope is not lost, i still have plenty of time to scribble in some pretty rockin stories for my obituary.............. i hope! :)
so thank you for this little revelation <3
Aimee said…
well these questions require a bit of thought before i answer them...so i will get back to you as soon as i figure out the right words. this is a little hard for me to think about because i am so young, but i have to confess i have thought about it...not to be morbid or anything, but it could happen in a second, couldn't it? and you just think, 'what will i have done?'

i am going to go answer these as honestly as i can and get back to you...but i'm also wondering if you will share your own answers with us? i understand completely with if it is too personal (as mine might be, i've yet to find out) but i just thought i would ask. thank you for giving me something to think about! :-D
switchkosterice said…
i've read all of the comments so far and when it's not 10:46 at night, i intend on answering all of these questions in full. i need some time to think and even more time to write out and completely revise what i had planned on writing earlier. it's a scary thought, but i honestly don't mind all of these important thoughts of mine being read by people i don't know. that's what passing on is about, really.
wallflower said…
1. to be completely honest, i'd love to see "the coolest person ever" or "the funniest person i have ever met".

2. i want people to remember me as the person i used to hate, and the present me that i'm slowly learning to love. i want people to remember my senior year when i only wore clothes out of my grandmothers closet for a whole semester. i want people to remember my most embarrassing moments, what decorated my walls, my passions. i don't want people to remember me sleeping 12 hours a day. and i don't want people to remember me saying i was going to do something, only to not do it. i want people to think of me and smile. i don't want to be forgotten.

3. i want to solve a medical mystery. save a life, hopefully a few. raise children in a loving marriage. the impact i make on others will be my legacy.

p.s. the one thing i will never forget about philosophy [besides being told that i don't exist and how do you know you exist etc.]... being told that i've never seen a true square. i've been drawing squares ever since.
Rover Fox said…
I hope you like this, its out of format but it was the only way I knew how to get it out of me.

I walk in a peaceful cemetery, as I gaze at each life remembered, the shade of the gentle oak trees prodes me further. I noticed how each stone diary, once standing tall, is soon eroded by earth and moss. With each row I pass, the screams echo louder, "Carpe Diem, Seize the Day, Carpe Diem!" Until at last the voices fade as I stumble upon a small stone. I examine it further if to find it was my own, my grave. I kneel down as if to think, or pray, --wondering if what I did was enough. Did I change the world, did I love God with all my heart, did I seize my day? These questions parade my mind like the ghosts dancing in our fears. Perhaps this was the genius, I think to myself, of Ebenezer Scrooge, seeing his own tombstone. I couldn't help but fear! These thoughts continued when at last a familiar yet alien voice broke through the madness. Thats when I realized I wasn't alone, I was never alone. My heart rushed with warmth, like the feeling you get when you meet somebody after along time has passed, and you still know them but now you see them in a different light, a brighter light. I was at peace in the presence of a well-known stranger. Thats when He spoke, "That will do son, that will do."
juju said…
Oh my goodness, I love this idea. I'm jumping at the chance.

1. imagine that you are standing in a graveyard looking at your own tombstone. now write the epitaph you would like to see there. begin with the words "here lies..."

--My name, Julie means "youthful". I've been told before, by lots of different people who know me pretty well, that it's ironic I should have been given a name that so suits my personality from day one. Throughout my life so far I have "given the word youthful a new meaning" according to my younger brother. At 20 years old, with some education and a full time job, I feel real, grown up, adult responsibility every moment of every day. But I also find myself continuing with my "full of life" point of view most days, and still referring to myself as a kid once in a while.
At this point in my life I am not afraid of getting older as some young people are. I don't try to rush myself either.
A great hope of mine is that as I continue to get older I will be able to hold on to my youthfulness, carrying it with me until the day I die. And that when the people I love look back on my life and who I was to them, they will think of my smile and remember "the good young days".

So maybe my epitaph will say something like ..."Here lies someone who held onto youthfulness long past childhood"
Maybe it's corny, but I like it.

2. write your own obituary (don't make it brief). how do you want people to think of your life, to remember you?

(this is based on me dying of old age-psh, i know right, not exactly within the laws of reality to be choosy, but this is hyothetical, right?)
--Julie Ann _____(last name not given for protection of privacy) was a mother (I'm not yet, but I hope to be before I die), a daughter, a sister, and an aunt, who felt the love of the closest people in her life as something she could almost see and physically touch, rather than just feel within. In her own way, she tried to return that special sense of love to those very people, and to also extend it out towards others. Julie looked at life from a childlike point of view, which showed every day through her life long dedication to early education for children. (I currently work at a day care as an assistant teacher in two different Pre-K classes, and plan to soon start studying for a degree in early education, in hopes to one day be a lead teacher in Pre-K). Julie was a patient woman, taking time to see the little things around her in the world. Julie's emotions ran deep, she was passionate about many things. And it is with our own deep emotions that we say good-bye to her.

(eh, now that I wrote that one, I have been cutting into the sharper edges of my brain to decide what it would say if I were to die tomorrow, so here goes.)
--Julie was known by people around her as energetic, funny, and compassionate. She radiated with happiness when she was with the people she loved. We (I'm talking about myself as if someone else was saying all of this, but I don't know who "we" refers to) can't know if this was a mere facade of happiness, or if she was as genuine as she always seemed. (and some days, to be honest, it is a facade). Julie was easy going in every way, taking things in stride and never one for much complaining. Friends and family counted on her and looked to her for advice and acceptance, learning quickly that she was a person who could be trusted and loved without reservations. Until the end, which came all to soon, she encased the meaning of youthfulness in her daily presence. Her faith in love and life was visible. Good-bye, Julie.

3. what legacy would you like to leave when you die?

I think if you read through the above, you would get some idea. I really just want to be known for my sincere love, patience, understanding, and consideration for other people's feelings. Known for wisdom rather than academic knowledge. I don't want to be known for an excelled advancement in a career full of money and no real interest, I want to be known for working hard at even the little things.

All right, this took up most of my night. Hopefully someone enjoys.
Antoinette said…
1. imagine that you are standing in a graveyard looking at your own tombstone. now write the epitaph you would like to see there. begin with the words "here lies..."
At first, I could only think of things like “beloved mother, daughter,” etc. And I don’t think I’d want that kind of thing. Not because I don’t know if I’ll ever be a mother, but because I just don’t think it’d say a lot about me. It’s something my family and friends would already know, and something that strangers would probably either expect or assume. Somehow, it reminds me of writing college admissions personal statements; my English teacher told me that if you remove your name and people you know can’t figure out it’s you, it’s not good enough, it’s either cliche or too broad, or maybe you’re just trying to tell people what you think they want to hear. Sorry, I just sound really cynical right now. If I were more poetic, I’d write a short poem about death. Or maybe just use a quote about it. I’m sure if I looked through my journals, I’d find something I said that is quotable. Or maybe something along the lines of “I wish everybody could see the beauty in the world that I saw every day,” though not that exact phrasing. I often get questions from my friends like, “What’s on your mind?” and I can never seem to express myself clearly. I think there are things I appreciate more because I took the time to think about them and understand them. Well whatever I decide on, I don’t think it’d start off with “here lies.” But I could just keep going on and on with different ideas.

2. write your own obituary (don't make it brief). how do you want people to think of your life, to remember you?
Other than being kind, thoughtful and intelligent? I don’t really know, actually. I don’t think I could know until I finally and completely understand myself (which would take a while, if it even ever happens). I know I’ve made more mistakes than most people, and I haven’t always been the nicest person to be around, but I know I don’t want my obituary to pretend that I was completely perfect all the time. Basically I just want people to know that I tried my best, and the mistakes only shaped me and made me understand life better. Maybe I was never the smartest or the prettiest or the most popular, but the amazing thing -- amazing to me, at least -- is that I never needed any of that. Sure, I envied, but I there are five million other things about me that I am fortunate enough to like about myself, and at least two things that I actually excel at and feel passionate about. Those two things are the best part of my life -- what my life revolves around, as well as the people I get to share them with.

3. what legacy would you like to leave when you die?
Career-wise, I’d like to have some piece of work that will be remembered for years and years, even if I’m forgotten. At this point, I’m a journalist. I want to know that the newspaper industry didn’t die out while I was still in it, that I somehow contributed to some groundbreaking idea that made everybody want to read newspapers again. Would it be too ambitious of me to say that I wish my life would involve helping to change the world? But at this point, I’m also a filmmaker. Sure, I want to take pretty pictures that win Oscars and entertain people, but there’s so much more to it than that. You know when you’re in a movie theater and everybody just opens themselves emotionally to the film? Like, people are so affected by it that they’ve broken down crying, or they laugh so hard they can’t breathe -- that’s amazing. But more than that, it’s those times when people relate to characters in the story and are so moved that they want to live their lives differently. To work on something that has that kind of affect on people, and for it to continue to inspire people long after I’m gone.
Matty Gene said…
1. I would want it to say, "Here lies Matts body, but not Matt, for he is with his savior".

2.I need to think on this one some more.

3.the legacy i would leave behind, is that when ever my name is brought up, it would only be my passion, love, and dedication for Christ! and people could be turned to Him through the life i lived.
Vlad said…
1. imagine that you are standing in a graveyard looking at your own tombstone. now write the epitaph you would like to see there. begin with the words "here lies..."

"here lies Vlad, the most loving caring crazy warm-hearted and passionate friend we could have"

...some personal jokes and what I want to come out from my life and how I live, yes I believe in God, but I want that to come through how I live and treat others and not as a religious sunday person haha.

2. write your own obituary (don't make it brief). how do you want people to think of your life, to remember you?

"Vlad loved everything with all his heart, his music and instruments (drums, guitar and vox), his friends, his family and Christ for all that he did in his life and brought him through, so that he may have passed on that love, grace and information onto us, that he was as much of a sinner but was redeemed, challenged by life itself, etc etc"

I can't think of anything else haha and this is the best I could think of I guess

3. what legacy would you like to leave when you die?

loving others and God and being committed to doing that above all, being passionate and doing the best you can with whatever mood or shit your in in this life, a model of what Christ and what he has done within me, having fun and enjoying every moment you can while all the while doing all you can to follow the first step before that.

I dunno sounds corny with some of that religiousness, but I've come far enough in life to realise that theres someone I wish I could be more like and someone to aspire to, while all the while being with those who need life and those who can also show me life.
Vlad said…
p.s. your an inspiration Stephen, I can't think of any other singer or musician I am inspired by that does this sort of thing, I only wish others like you did the same

sometimes it makes a world of change to a person to actually be challenged to think about oneself and others :)
Latrina said…
Wow, heavy questions, Stephen. I've been thinking it over..

q) 1. imagine that you are standing in a graveyard looking at your own tombstone. now write the epitaph you would like to see there. begin with the words "here lies..."

a) This is kind of hard since I'm wanting to be cremated & have my ashes spread out across the world (places I've been or places that mean a lot to me). But if I did have a tombstone, I guess I would want it to say something like: "Here lies a woman who enjoyed life and is now enjoying the rest of it."

q) 2. write your own obituary (don't make it brief). how do you want people to think of your life, to remember you?

a) I would want people to know how hard I've shrived to make my friends & family happy. How they were always my #1. I want people to know how big my heart was and how it ached for others. How funny & just plain goofy I was. I want to be remembered as a caring, inspiring, creative woman.

q) 3. what legacy would you like to leave when you die?

a) My legacy, I guess, would be a reminder to those I love that life is so short & should be savored as often as possible. I've always tried to live each day as though it's my last. I've tried to inspire as much as I could. I would like others do the same.
Dids said…
1) "Here lies..."

'An undefinable.'

Seriously! That's what I'd like. To be so different that loved ones and others can't find one word, or even a string of pretty words, for me. To have finally, finally been able to escape the labels binding all of us to the world. I don't want to be tagged as "a Christian", or "a mother", or "a bookworm", or "a writer", or "a friend". None of that. All of those are great and fulfilling, but they're not me. Not solely... The tombstone wouldn't be long enough to hold all of that. (And the mental image of an elongated tombstone is rather humorous to me. Might as well erect an obilisk. haha!)

But I'm going to be cremated, anyways. You know! Defying the world and mortality by not holding on to something made from ashes. Plus, when my loved ones scatter my ashes, they'll be able to say I traveled the world, even if I didn't during my temporary life! heehee!

2) My obituary...

Having died at a lively (pun!) age of 17, Dids (yes, my nickname) wouldn't want a long-winded, morose speech. Death to her was an enthralling idea that had much promise. Promise of True Life, promise of being with her True Lover, being with her True Father, promise of going some place she didn't deserve. And so, she'd want that celebrated!

Emily (my given name) sought a world given to God and all He has to offer. She sought a place where people could live together, no strife, no secrets, no lies, no pain. Her idealistic, and stubborn, opinions echoed her search. Always trying to make a difference, Emily strove to be someone that held on to fading values: chivalry, honor, honesty, humility. Of course, no one's perfect and she slipped up. She openly admitted it most of the time.

Avid in reading for a while, she dreamed of libraries 3 stories high, filled with thick and thin volumes, and ladders that rolled across the walls of books. Her love for books seeped into a rarely tapped skill of writing. Dreams of greatness and hopes of changing the world through published works circled her God-given talent. Her fiction, though brilliant in it's own, wasn't what truly touched people. It was the journals randomly written in, the multiple journals that held few entries in each. Discovered and read and digested, these books filled with her chicken-scratch exposed secrets, opened eyes, eased pain.

We loved ones (it wouldn't be a minister sharing) all saw this average teenager as something more. Mature in different ways, a blessing to all, one always counted on to brighten a day. Strong for the Lord, putting always those close to her before her own needs, even making a pebble-sized difference in the ocean-sized world. Her thoughtless actions, driven by emotions, made us laugh, made us cry, made us want to tear our hair out. But we loved every flaw, every God-given perfection, every thing about Emily. Love came easily for her, with an imagination nearly strong enough to turn sympathy to empathy, and allowed her to attempt non-judgmentality.

It's not the "good works" she did, nor the people she loved, nor the flaws and perfections that made her. It was her being herself. Emily being Emily. Undefinable, indescribable, God's child and blessing to us.

We hope to see her again someday. She cried often for her friends that she knew she'll never see again, praying fervently that God would change their hearts. It was a wish that her death would not be in vain, that her death would touch others, show them God's dazzling love. So we all hope. And one day, maybe we'll ALL be together again. Dids would like that.

3) My legacy...

I'm not sure about this one. Legacies have never seemed important to me... Well... More rightfully, "legacy" never seemed the word to fit me.

I just want to be an instrument for God, a warrior for His Kingdom. I want my life, my actions, my beliefs to reflect that.

No labels, no single-word adjectives. I want people to be incapable of describing me without the need to sit for half a day and tell my story.

My story can just be a novella. Maybe a picture book. I don't care. But I want it to be that they constantly struggle with not going into detail, not telling another story that'd be related and would make the initial story even better.

My life wasn't a whim by God, and I don't want people to pass it off as such.

NONE of our lives are simply whims of God. Purpose dictates how we live and why we live.

I want people to be able to say I lived for God, that I was a strong warrior. That's my "legacy" I want, I guess...

God sees me through Christ, so He doesn't see my ineptitude. I want it to be the same with people. I don't want them to think I'm perfect!! No!! No, what I want! Is for them to see God! When they think of me, God is the first one that pops into their brains.

I don't want to be in a memory that hurts them. I want to be in a memory that soothes and comforts them. Because it's God and His Grace and Love and Mercy and Peace that fill their minds.

I want my "legacy" to be God-centered.
Rover Fox said…
I agree Dids, my funeral is going to be an awesome party.

...Anyone here whose still around when I die is invited!
Lisa Anne said…
hmm, so I answered these based on not dying for a really long time.. and this is what it got me...

1. imagine that you are standing in a graveyard looking at your own tombstone. now write the epitaph you would like to see there. begin with the words "here lies..."

well, I have thought about this before, which I guess isn’t maybe the greatest thing to think about at 16 but whatever, and I like the idea of like traditional burial less and less. I’d rather not just amount to a fancy carved rock in the ground for everyone to forget about. Instead, I think it would be kind of sweet to be cremated (I don’t think many people say sweet and cremated right next to each other..) and be spread throughout the world, in places that I would have visited or worked or something. It’s my dream to travel the world and see all it has to offer. And so I thought, if I’m cremated I could make an adventure out of this for my kids or grandkids or whomever, have them visit and scatter my ashes all around the world and by doing so they get to see the world.. I don’t know maybe it just sounds better in my head lol. My mom seemed to think I sounded crazy,

write your own obituary (don't make it brief). how do you want people to think of your life, to remember you?

I’m not so sure how to write my own obituary. But I want people to look at my life and think it was well lived, see I finally made something of my life and lived it to the absolute fullest. And I don’t want some sappy mushy obituary that’s meant to sound sad, I’d prefer something that remind people how crazy I am (or was I suppose) Whenever I go, I don’t want the people who care, however many actually do, to be sad, but rather happy. I’d prefer it if friends were happy because they would know I’m home. Heck, instead of a funeral throw me a party! With loud crazy upbeat music, something to dance to! Haha =)

what legacy would you like to leave when you die?
Well… I really, really want to do something with being a part of fighting human trafficking/modern day slavery, how I will do so I’m yet to figure out.. And so I would want to be remembered for having fought for justice and human right and such. I want to life my life helping people in any way I can. I would like to be remembered as someone who lived their life fully for God and for loving His people..
Wow this turned out looong. Sorry.

So, I'm curious to hear your responses to these questions?
Monica said…
1. Here lies Monica, who loved.

2.,3. To me these kind of blend together. Legacy is a tough one. I have such a desire to touch people's lives, to leave my footprint on the world in all the loving ways I can, but when I consider it to me it is selfish. I don't believe it's selfish to want to improve people's lives and to glorify God, of course, but to so yearn for their thoughts and their admiration and attention as a result of that to me is only a tribute to ourselves.

I want to leave a legacy, dearly - I want to be known as someone who loved God and loved her family and friends, who loved the world and loved people, but someone who mourned the state of humanity as much as she hated her own sins. I want to be known as someone who brought a certain gentle intensity to the things she undertook and the relationships she sought after, and who loved challenges and learned every day. Etc. etc.

But then again, I wish I didn't want this so much. I wish I was content to do God's will and let the glory go where it belongs rather than contributing to some legacy I hope to leave. I wish it was enough to change lives, rather than needing some sort of attention for it after I've passed. Thinking about this makes me question even the intentions of leaving this comment.

But when you think about legacies in this fallen world you have to consider how often they are such a blessing - a model, a motivation, a useful imitation of Christ. Jesus Christ himself has left the strongest, most lasting legacy on our world, ever, after all. So where's the balance? I supposed it's found in wanting it for the right reasons.

I'm interested in your responses as well...
eve said…

JOHN 14:1-6
Here lies Eve. Do not mourn this place. She is not here.

You are all cordially invited to a celebration at her Mansion in the sky. As in life, she looks forward to seeing all of of you to love, laugh, and share every moment with her.

The music will be angelic

The view will be heavenly

The guest list will be world renowned

From: your arrival
To: all eternity

DIRECTIONS: Through Jesus Christ, follow the Way,the Truth, and the Life.

Please r.s.v.p. by having your name written in The Lamb's Book of Life: REVELATIONS 21:27

Hope to see all of you there.

This pretty much sums up what I hope I left behind.

I know my children and family feel how much I have loved them. I only hope I have given a clear picture of what I stood for to strangers and nearby observers. God forgive me if I have failed in this. Eve
mark duarte said…
Here Lies Mark Duarte.

"You're standing on my liver..now you're on my ribs.."

That's what i always imagined being on my grave, i wanted people to visit me years from now and still put a smile on their face when they think of me. But i'd rather just be burnt and have my ashes tossed in the ocean.

I don't want an obituary.

Legacy: I hope to be remembered as a good person. A man who was compassionate, fearless, strong, sensitive, loving, funny. I want my kids to know that their father loved them more than life itself. That I am never going to leave them like my father did.
I don't really have anything to leave my wife, i hope she dies before me, because i would hate to put her through the pain of losing her husband. But only a minute before me. :)
Victoria said…
I had to think about this one for a while. I'm sure (and I hope) this will change over the years, but it will be a nice topic to think of as I change throughout life. I actually have never thought of this. Anyways...

1. Here lies Victoria: daughter, sister, wife, and mother, who loved throughout her life, passionately being everything she believed in.

2. Victoria died on *date* of old age. She is survived by her sister, her children, and her grandchildren. She approached each challenge in life with fervor, refusing to be "lukewarm". She completed medical school, top in her class, and pursued humanitarian missions, along with regular hospital work, continuing violin studies, social activism, and loving her children. Victoria died a peaceful soul, sure of her entrance into heaven, and hopeful for others'.

3. I would like to, and hope I am worthy to be, remembered for my strength in character and faith, and my love of art, music, and knowledge.

Obviously still a rough draft. I will certainly revise this over the years.
Joe Donaldson said…
1. here lies Joseph Donaldson
A man after God’s own heart
Beloved friend, father, mentor.
2. I thought about writing this. But I decided I’d make myself what Rob Bell called Super-pastor, which I cannot be. I have to draw closer to God. That’s it, and be the man he guides me to be.
3. A legacy of love and grace.
wallflower said…
"Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am in a thousand winds that blow,
I am the softly falling snow.
I am the gentle showers of rain,
I am the fields of ripening grain.
I am in the morning hush,
I am in the graceful rush
Of beautiful birds in circling flight,
I am the starshine of the night.
I am in the flowers that bloom,
I am in a quiet room.
I am in the birds that sing,
I am in each lovely thing.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there. I do not die."
[Cr*] said…


Hurd300403 said…
this blog is so refreshing.
1. imagine that you are standing in a graveyard looking at your own tombstone. now write the epitaph you would like to see there. begin with the words "here lies..."

Here lies Larissa M. Locke
"how beautiful it is to love something death can touch."
or maybe a quote by Gregory Colbert. (if you haven't seen his photography, look it up now.)
"Feather to fire, fire to blood, blood to bone, bone to marrow, marrow to ashes, ashes to snow."

2. write your own obituary (don't make it brief). how do you want people to think of your life, to remember you?

Since I seem to be at a loss for words in terms of an actual obituary... I will answer the questions. I would like to be thought of as someone who lived in the moment, took and gave everything I could from life, and inspired and changed people through my art and writing. I want to be remembered as a generous person, someone who always had time for others and went out of their way to help.

Really... I want to be remembered for all these things I want to do.
"I want to be independent. I want to be inspiring. I want to be so in love with life I won't "waste" a moment. I want to be in tune with things. I want to play a musical instrument. I want to call myself an artist and mean it. I want to be free with myself and feel at ease. I always want to be striving for improvement. I want something to be proud of, for someone to be proud of me. I want to change people for the better. I want to be remembered for being different, for being compassionate, for being there, for having a voice. I want a piece of mine to make someone cry, to make someone have an epiphany about life, to make someone think, to make someone feel something familiar or something they have never felt before. I want to surprise people, and give gifts for no reason. I want people to surprise me (even though they always will.) I want to make people care. I want people who understand me, and me them. I want friends I can depend on and can call at any time to do whatever random thing. I want to find peace. I want to be able to find the silver lining in everything. I want to find that perfect medium of expression, emotion and still being in control. I want to give my heart away, and get it back, and still be able to trust someone enough to give it back again. I want to write a book. I want to be able to go to bed at night and know I have done something worthwhile that day. I want to get up with the sun, and the birds. I want to sleep in and have it be a treat. I want to see the world. I want pen pals from all corners of the globe. I want most of all, to find myself and be truly content with who I am no matter the situation. I want to make a name for myself."
3. what legacy would you like to leave when you die?

I think the above piece answers that question. Really, I would just love to leave behind a plethora of wisdom and inspiring artwork and literature and good deeds. To have been someone that lights the fire of life in others. To make something that will last, at least a little while. I realize it takes someone very remarkable to last through the centuries, and I don't think I am any Shakespeare or Van Gogh. (not yet, anyway.)
The Shy Kid said…
As I was reading throughout these questions, I became overwhelmed with emotion. Then I thought about my answers and they were not comforting. I sat in my chair at the computer and stared at these three simply question and could not help but shed tears in fear of my empty life. There is soo much I want to do but may never have the courage to do them or never have the money. These answers are based on if my life happens as I plan, dieing of old age.
1. I have never thought about the words I would want carved into the tombstone that stands at my grave. I do know I don't want a traditional wording of things such as here lies.... But maybe a word that describes me as a whole. A word that embodies my entire being. Something simply, my name and that word then the date of my untimely death. I will not choose the word but the ones who knew me and loved me.
2. I don't think I want an obituary, people can remember me how they please. I really don't even want a funeral. I do want people to take the money I leave behind and go on an adventure to all the places I loved and all the places I wish I could have been. Ones were the sunset is so beautiful that it feels as if heaven and earth come together; a feeling of peace that overwhelms your body, warming every inch of it. Then spread my ashes throughout the destinations. I want my love ones to experience true beauty in the earths landscape as I did.
3. My legacy.... I just want to leave people feeling loved by me. I want them to see beauty as I once did in the simplest of objects.
I want to make choices for me and not what others feel I should. I want be cultured and change the world even if its in the smallest way. I want to find true love, pure love and complete trust for another human. I want to care for my parents as they did me through out the years. I want to find the answers to my biggest questions. I want to make mistakes, and just do some crazy shit. I want to spread the word of peace and love. I want people to think twice about saying hurtful words to another human being.
I just want a legacy of peace, beauty, truth and love.
Aimee said…
1. So I thought about this a long time, and I thought that maybe I could put some wise quote or something funny to break the monotony of the everyday epitaph. But I realized it's not really about being original...it's just about putting something down that represents me. So here I am, in the simplest terms:

"Here lies Aimee
Who stumbled through life
But loved every second of it.
She found what she was searching for"

If all I amount to is the words on that stone, then those particular words are all right with me.

2. For those who knew her, the personality of Aimee Marie ________ could be described by one simple word: happy. She never went a day in her life without smiling, nor did she ever go a day without doing her best to give someone else a reason to do the same.

Aimee loved her life and the one who gave it to her with every fiber of her being. She tried very hard to be the person her friends and family wanted her to be, but in the end she could not deny who she was. Luckily, that was just the person they had been looking for.

During her life, Aimee enjoyed the simple pleasures of reading, writing, music, and making others laugh with her silly antics. She loved to write poetry, and believed that truth and honesty alone made her work meaningful. A strong believer in the power of words, it was not uncommon to see her with her nose buried in a book, teardrops falling on the page, simply because the right word moved her heart as it had not moved before. She could be unfairly judgemental at times, yet as she grew older she began to see Jesus in every human being, and she realized that, when it comes down to it, we are all the same blood.

Above all else, Aimee loved. She loved her family, her friends, and her Lord and savior in a way she loved nothing else. A self-critic by nature, she did not believe she deserved the life she had, and made sure to give thanks every second of every day. Her one true hope was that she could make a difference in someone's life. At the very least, in the hearts of her family and friends, that hope has not been disappointed.

(I was not quite sure how to write this one as I'm not too good at praising myself...and I should say that it's rather lengthy, and probably would not be allowed in any newspaper. Ah well.)

3. I'll try to make this response a bit briefer than my last one. Anyway, the legacy I would like to leave behind is a simple one. If I live to have children, I would want for them to be good, compassionate people who were selfless rather than selfish. If I can raise my children so that they still have some integrity in a world that is sometimes so devoid of just that, I will have succeeded. In a career sense, I suppose I would like to be known for my writing, even if it only ever brings me intrinsic pleasure. If my writing can move one person to tears, or make them jolt in recognition of the feelings I express, or inspire them to heights they hadn't imagined, that is all the success I need. Finally, if I am remembered for nothing else, I would like to be known as God's servant, who was true to Him and to herself and led a life of love, honesty, and understanding. That is the most important thing I can ever hope to be.

Thank you for giving me this chance to explore myself, Stephen. I am learning so much about who I am and who I want to be, and am working to make these hopes I have expressed come true. God bless.
Anonymous said…
1.).... Im not so sure im concerned with what a tomb stone of mine says..... im not even sure that i want one.... however im not sure of much these days....but i get it.... the whole point is not about some physical tomb stone.... more or less i will play along....i dont even know what name would be chiseled into it, although i have taken someone else's last name..... so its hard to start with "here lies_ _ _ _ _"......lets go with Maria....(Ria for short)..... Born on march 10 1985, reborn numerous times,(my tomb stone would be a tomb wall at this point if i listed all of those birth dates) only to die numerous times, let's hope she checked out on an "on" day and not an "off" day...... eternity is a long time..... too long for it to be an "off" day... why does she leave this to coincidence?.... when it is obviously in her control?.... temptation broke my doorbell and its constantly chiming.... no, you know what?.... to go even deeper into this exercise.... lets say she finally got it all together and went to heaven and lived a christian life.... she was a role model to many.... finally got the courage and the time to sing in front of the whole world, and what a beautiful voice, she could convince satan to get saved.... taught all the children she ever encountered something.... saved their "inevitable" little souls..... the end... i mean, it is hypathetical, right?.... guess this is wishful thinking..... ok... so now what? now i have done some soul searching and im to go and put this into action? easier said than done.... im just begining to find my prayers again.... if i can manage to say "in Jesus' name" before i doze off....

2.)that girl, that dark haired, dark eyed girl,(ofcourse i would put something cosmetic in there, how vain?!), that girl who couldnt leave well enough alone, the over-analyzer, she saw things differently, she captured them with a shutter and a lens, she manipulated them into art, she manipulated everyone, she was a part-time pessimist who found beauty in the unsightly,unlikely, ugly places, she put them on print and enlightened the world, she was an oxy-moron, she loved music more than her own soul, she loved many things more than her own soul, or she would have lived a more righcheous life, she loved the Lord, she was disappointed in herself, for the Lord she loved, she felt unworthy of, she felt like she constantly let him down, she felt being enlightened a curse, she could not deny the truth, she had no excuses..... only consequences.... the consequences she feared the most... we hope she did not meet, we hope her greatest fear not to be her fate. she loved her family more than herself, she vowed never to conform to this modern world, she felt guilt for living a privileged life, she wanted the simple life, she wanted to lose all of her possessions, but never found the courage to do so, never met a pretty pair of shoes too painful..... had a love for hats, the 30's, anything old, and animals. never met anyone like her.... she is singular, not plural. and there will never be an equal, not male or female, she has searched and taken her misunderstood mind and accepted it.... it caused her a lonliness incomprehendable.... but a lonliness she was secure with, for there may have never been a day she was without it. but we loved her. she was easy to love

3.)legacy? i dont need one, i dont want my family to ache for me, i've never lost anyone close to me, and i feel God has avoided it because he's not sure i can handle it.... i could never be responsible for such pain that i only imagine when i imagine the unimaginable happening to someone i love.... just experimenting with the idea makes my stomach empty itself and burn something fierce.... forbid the real thing ever happen, i would be comatose. honestly, i want to be remembered as the oppositte of how i remember everyone..... i walk the streets now and people watch, i dont think the way i once did.... "where did she get those shoes?".. "wonder what kind of music he likes?"..... no, now i watch them walk, i think to myself, i wonder if she's going to heaven?, probably not.... i wonder if he's going to heaven?... maybe? i wonder what their story is?... i silently mark them off, like a snyper.... only not in the physical sense, i kill their souls, i mark them off as if they are sinners who arent even aware of their sinning.... i weep for them.... i weep for the world.... i dont want to be one of these people i mark off.... i want to be one that i keep.... i dont have much hope though.... heaven is harder to get into than harvard and people automatically assume you just float away to heaven.... and there is singing.... and relatives... ahahahhaha.... this misconception cracks me up because how does "maw maw" and "paw paw" always end up being the door greeters to heaven? idk.... im discouraged..... but with good reason.... the words written in red make me doubt myself and my abilities.... lets hope i can restore my selfconfidence before i do die. because for now i am one of those people i mark off.... im a mark.

anyone want to offer any insight? i could use some.... im only interested in "Christian" perspectives.... can't allow doubt to even so much as step foot into the door of my mind.... if so, make the subject pertaining to this blog so i dont delete as junk mail...

Maria K.B.P.
Anonymous said…
People if we are a follower and disciple of Jesus Christ it should not matter at all what our tombstone says because God's word says" To be absent from the body IS to be present with the Lord"

To dwell what should be on our tombstone and waste brain cycles is not what we should be doing but instead live our lives like today or this moment is the last and to reach out to those who don't know Jesus Christ and make sure that their tombstone says:
"To be absent from the body IS to be present with the Lord".

Open up your eyes to what God has placed directly in front of you in terms of people and opportunities!!! Now is the time!
Cassandra said…
People want The Truth that brings them life before death. If I can serve as a voice of His, then I would consider my life well lived.

Life is not about legacy nor remembrance for legacy and remembrance's sake. It is about the bigger things that lead to legacy and remembrance. I think it is dangerous to live a life in view of the shadow of death. I endeavor rather, to live life in shadow of eternity. There is no end. This is not about the end.
audax said…
I think the beauty of talking about dead guys and their answers is that they help you build a more comprehensive view of the world and conversely yourself...

their questions and their answers don't really matter as much, they're just troublesome details...

i think that their real legacies are the way their thoughts, answers and questions were framed... :)

sort of like several different methods to madness to help our own soul searching or understanding of the big concepts like life, existence, truth and meaning :)
amanda lynn said…
1. Here lies Amanda, a child of the undead Savior.

2. Amanda died early Friday afternoon in attempt to stop an armed bank robber from shooting his hostages. Although it cost her her life, her act stalled the gunman long enough for police to arrive. She left behind her two children and her husband and is survived by her three brothers. Her family is saddened by her death, but rests assured that Amanda got her dream to die in a way that her death meant something to others.

3. A legacy of love. I want everyone I come in contact with to feel as if they are loved; I want the love of Jesus flowing through me to them so that when people look back on their contact with me, they don't see merely me, but they see Jesus.
Andrea said…
My Grand mother is close to death (she's very excited to 'go home'), so I've been thinking alot about this.
(sorry for being so sentimental today, but i wanted you to know that you have comforted me, and will continue to comfort after her death with your music, writings, and just the memories. i love you stephen!)

I'm not a writer, so I'll just give basic ideas.(sorry about that, i'm too tired from worrying about my grandma to think of moving words right now)

the first question depends on whether I died young or old. If I am young, it will most likely say something like
"here lies andrea spears, beloved daughter who wanted to save the world" hopefully my parents would put something about my love of music, probably a song quote, and also something funny. like right after the mushy part it would say something totally random, they know me too well for it be sad or boring. those three things would sum me up at this age.

Ideally, I would die over the age of 70, so I would hope it would speak of how motherly I was, to my biological, adopted, sponsored children. something about how my selflessness changed many lives here and all over the world.

likewise my obituary would talk about my children, the work I'd done overseas, organizations I worked for, devotion to my husband, and how I inspired people to the same.

there is the possibility, that if I end up doing work over-seas, I could be killed that way. and I'd be quite honored and want my cause to be described in the obituary.

I just now realized that I'm very lucky to already know what I want to do with my life, I'm not sure HOW but I do know what. that is a start.

thanks for listening to all of us,

- Andrea
Raechel said…
1. ((I always think about this before I'm about to make a decision)) I'd love to read "Here lies a friend, a loving mother and grandmother, and an inspiration in God's light." As it is, I still have a long way to go. I believe I only have "friend" checked off the list so far. ;)

2. I definitely want to be remembered as the goofy big sister, with more bad jokes than a box of popsicles and bigger dreams than most premed students. I'd also like to be remembered for making people think differently, for exposing a couple thousand of my peers to the tragedy in N. Uganda, for being a light in dark places. I want my obituary to say proudly that "Raechel never worked a day in her life" simply because I loved what I did every moment of every day. I'll be survived by my two brothers and leave the world hopefully a few children, which will be a blessing to many others.

3. I'll want my memory to survive with the reminder that people are only limited by their capacity to act on their ability to love, not by their pocket change or their voices. I'd also love to make a footprint in the history of art, but that's going to take time to accomplish as well, heh.

Stephen, loved this exercise! This has definitely been a day mostly comprised of thinking for me and these three questions have been a great peak in my routine. Now for "three things to take on a desert island"...
Jenny said…
1. Here lies a person complete. Jenny Pirie, beloved by all.
"Death may be the next great adventure but my life was beautifully blessed."

I could write so much on my headstone!! Probably something thieved from you; "Became the change she wished to see in the world." That I would be pleased to see if... when it comes true.

2. I've actually written a letter to be read out at my funeral... Morbid but I feel it necessary. I wanteveryone to know that I loved them all. I want them to remember me as the fun-loving & genuine person I was raised to be. A person with an endless supply of love to share with all those who needed me, near or far.

3. I want to leave my handprint on those hearts that I've been able to touch, which so far is a good number for my age. I'd also like to leave behind my writings in hope that someone finds some small measure of comfort or hope or enjoyment from their pages.

I think I'm overly prepared for these questions; I tend to think about these things a lot. Being perfectly honest, I'd just like to not be forgotten by the people who knew me. I want to leave them with such a fondness they never are able to forget. Able to accept my passing & move on but to remember the times we had together & smile.

I hope I've actually answered the questions you asked properly!!

Jenny said…
P.s. I took those classes also. More history of philosopy than anything else really. Frightfully boring at times!!
Anonymous said…
1. here lies david a man who lived life to the fullest

2. i really just want people to remember me as a the man who lived a crazy life from travel and insane events. A man who good sit you down and tell you storys that everyone always liked to hear.

3. i wish i would be known as the man of conversation, the man of intellegence(cant spell), and the man who teveled everywhere.
Shane said…
Actually, I believe Socrates said "The unexamined life is not worth living".
Nadia said…
Stephen, I've read all the responses so far. I see all sorts if answers to which make me think even more about my own. I am in college for journalism. I am soon taking an intro to philosophy class. It's one of my college’s requirements but I’m glad to be taking it.

I’m not sure how to answer these exactly but I will try my best. I did have to write an obituary once, for a Buddhist living class, but coming back to the subject again has made me think deeper than to the generic mere words I may have put on the in-class assignment.

I don't know if I'll have a tombstone or what will happen but if I were to have a tombstone, I would keep it simple: “here lies Nadia Peer, simply”. It seems like I am "leaving" at peace that way. Yes others may pass by my stone but to the people who know me, I think that they'd think it being a simple epitaph would fit me.

For the obituary... I don't know if it will be brief or not. I think someone I love will be reading this. Probably my best friend, Tara Adams.

"I’m not here to go into great lengths about Nadia, nor am I here to cut it too short. Yes, she was all of the things you think of normally; a daughter, sister, wife. But it is not about what you were or are but who you were or are. All that was wanted was for her to be born. As her mother said, she was her "happiness" girl/child. Yes there have been difficulties, road blocks and turns in her life but she's gone through just about as much as you and I. She knew she wasn't perfect, no one is. She looked past people's looks and really cared. Everyone may have some desire to change the world, but she thought to let things come. No matter how hard you try to change the world, you can't force that change upon things. Nadia took life by the moments. She's learned to not regret things, even embarrassing pieces of time in a once lived past. No matter how she felt about her experiences, she helped let them be the experiences they were meant to be. Even if the world is not at peace when she rests that way, know she left the world satisfied with her life. Even though she could've done more, helped more, said more, whatever, she took what she had and embraced it. She just let life be life. She just lived"

I know that will change over time. Maybe even it will be purely improv. I’m not sure. I used to think my mind was so cloudy but these days I am clearing up. I see things differently and I’m glad for it. I relate to people more than I thought I would. People can talk about what I am or when I was or how I am, but I just want to be who I am.

I don't think I care for a legacy to leave behind. If when I die you just live your life, I guess that's all I can ask for. I don't care to have some piece of work embedded into history. I don't need a quote of mine in the books. I just want to be remembered and leave behind the love of life. Whatever I do in life, probably is more or less for self satisfaction, enjoyment, or selfless giving (something like that). My legacy would be just to "live", even when it's hard. Live anyways and don't waste it.

It seems these answers are due for a change sometime, just as I will change over time. Sometimes I can't get to sleep because of these questions without solid answers. I’m not burdened by the questions or the answers for that matter but the possibilities that come with it.

Also, the song “Watch The Sky” by Something Corporate would be somewhere in my funeral, on my tombstone, etc. I listen to the song and I view my life.

“I’m alive. And I don’t need a witness. To know that I survived. I’m not looking for forgiveness. I just need light. I need light in the dark as I search for the resolution” - Andrew McMahon
Nadia said…
I didn't even think I'd write that much, but it was good to do so.

Making it simple it is epitaph I wrote, "Don't waste away. Live your life even when it gets hard. It's worth it", then the quote from Andrew McMahon, and lastly Life.

Thank you Stephen for blogs/posts like these.
Sarah said…
I was going to write a post answering to your questions for awhile but then i dont know how to answer any of these questions.
they make me frown. maybe cause im 16 but i feel like im 35 and dont know.

i will try to answer them.

1. on my tombstone i would want my name and how long ive lived just like any tombstone. and a quote or a long lyric that explains me. or a bible verse.

2. hmm i would want people to remember me as me. i know some people dont know me as me cause i dont open up to them, i guess i screwed up there but just someone who cares for others. i would just like people to know i lived my life to the fullest.

3. for my legacy.. i dont know this one yet. i think i do but i cant find the words to type it.

what are your responses?
btw; i like how you go to coffee shops during warped.
Patricia M. said…
Geez, I only discovered this site today, and just reading through this post and the three before it, I can already say that I plan to spend a lot more time on here.

It's a little weird to think about my own death this early in my life, but truth be told, I've never really worried about dying. It's not that I'm looking forward to it or that I don't care – to me, it just doesn't seem like it'd be very hard on the person that actually goes through it. I know I'd be sad to leave the people I love and to lose my material possessions (boohoo, right? Oh no, what if I don't have my iPod in Heaven?), but it's the people I'm leaving behind that I'd feel bad for, not myself. I know that I'll see them again and that I'm going to a better place, but a lot of my friends and loved ones don't seem to have the same confidence, at least not in their times of grief.

A person that was very dear to me passed away recently, and to be honest, I think that may have been the first time in my life I cried over something and actually thought about what I was doing. I've been known to get upset when I get frustrated or over-emotional about such-and-such, so crying comes pretty easily to me. I mean, I'm getting teary right now just typing this. But I thought about her – 42 years old and one of the nicest women I'd ever met – and I couldn't help but cry for the people she was leaving behind. For a world that would be that much less brighter without her. I cried for her husband, I cried for their families, I cried for her friends, but the more I thought about, the more I realized that I wasn't crying a tear for myself. And then I thought, why not? Why can't I feel sad for myself when I can feel sad for all these other people? I can weep over a multi-hour homework assignment, I can sob when my laptop freezes up and looks like its about to take an early trip to Computer Hell, I can even cry when I'm happy – so why couldn't I cry when someone I cared about left my life forever? Then it hit me – she hadn't left my life. I'm just not going to see her for a while.

SO! Enough beating around the bush! I've got questions I need to answer, right?


If I were to see my own epitaph, I would hope I it would say something similar to "Here Lies Patricia, More In Her Soul Than Her Body Could Ever Hope To Be" or something else poetic and perdy. And totally modest. The thing is, it'd actually be a little sad if those were the only words people had to remember me by, because the more I read them, the more I'd realize how little I've done with my life. I've always wanted to do things with myself, to be more than aspirations and fantasies, but every time I consider it, I restrict myself based on my age, my unwillingness, or my sheer apathy. "Let Someone Else Do It" would almost be a more fitting phrase, and I'm not too happy about that. I really hope that I live to be a little older than I am now – otherwise, I'll never get a chance to make that thing say anything better than "Awesome Chick" or something phony like that.

I guess, in a way, that's a bit of a life goal: leave more to be remembered by than a hokey, insufficient epitaph. If I had to hope for one based on the way I plan on living – really living – my life, I'd like something like this:

"Here Lies Patricia: A Friend, A Joy, An Inspiration"


*Written as if I were to die today – more of an honesty thing than a morbid one

"Born to a loving family in the heartland of America, Patricia ****** always wanted to live her life for others. Even at a young age, Patty wanted nothing more than to use her gifts to help the people around her, even if that meant something as simple as exchanging a friendly hello with a doleful stranger. Patty made it her goal to be pleasant and compassionate in every aspect of her life, priding herself on her remarkable ability to forgive and forget and sharing her honesty and openness with all of the people around her.

"During her short time on this earth, Patty enjoyed what she considered 'the finer things in life', including intellectual conversations with her teachers and peers, her own gift of understanding and reasoning, and the company of loved ones on cold winter nights.

"Patty was never certain what she wanted to do with her future, but that didn't mean she didn't have one – theology, mathematics, applied sciences, missionary work, creative writing, and fine arts all appealed to her, and with the proper devotion and mindset, she believed that any one of them was possible.

"Of all the varied role models and icons in her life, the three that had the greatest effect on her heart and soul were the closest members of her family: her mother, her father, and her brother. Her mother taught her patience, courtesy, and how to be happy no matter how much the world could try to get her down. She adopted her father's behaviors, sense of humor, and attitude towards life almost to the letter (for better or for worse, she would have added with a laugh) and knew that she could always turn to him if she had a question that needed answering. Her brother she admired more than anyone she had ever met, whether she would ever admit that to his face or not. His talent and passion for life inspired her, and there wasn't a day that went by that she didn't wish she could channel just a portion of the charisma and charm he brought to everything he did.

"Patty often said that she didn't want her passing to be mourned – instead, she'd rather her loved ones celebrate her life, and if they ever shed a tear for her, that it would only be in happiness. She loved the world with all her heart while she was alive, and if we could speak to her today, I'm sure she'd only ask that we do the same."


Oh man, this one's definitely gonna be the hardest, even considering all the awkward phrases I had to stumble over on the first question. For starters, I haven't really done anything that I could consider a legacy at this point in my life. I know age is a crappy excuse and I keep finding a way to use it, but honestly – I don't even know if I'll have done anything worth gloating about by the time I get out of college, let alone high school. I hope I'll have children – maybe even grandchildren – by the time I finally pass away, but if I were to die today, or tomorrow, or even next week, I should hope that my legacy would live on through my friends and family. I don't know what exactly that legacy would be. Kindness? Honesty? A large vocabulary? The best I could hope for would be faith. Any kind of faith, really. Spiritual faith, romantic faith, even something as easy as faith in humanity. I've always tried to be an optimist, despite my common claim of simply being a "realist". It's not so serious that I purposefully fool myself, but I do try to look on the brighter side of things, even when I risk disappointment. It's a bit of a flawed system in that I often put a little too much faith in people who don't fully deserve it, but it's surprising how clean a conscious it gives me. I'm the type of person that gives bad people two chances, questionable ones three, and good people as many as they could ever ask for. Faith is the greatest thing you could ever have, and faith rewarded is the closest thing you could ever find to Heaven on earth.

Anyhow, sorry about the lengthy answers. Hope at least a person or two will take the time to read what I've had to say, and if you (Stephen) happen to read this, thank you for being such an inspiration and for opening the eyes of saints and sinners everywhere.

With peace and endless love,
rebecca said…
i'm in a sort of philosophy class that is much more about examining personal beliefs, why you believe them, and how to defend them...it has been a great growing experience. finally starting to examine exactly what you believe and how that corresponds to others is amazingly eye-opening. even comparing my beliefs to those of a hundred philosophers with funny names....

To laugh often and much ,to win the respect of intelligent people and affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child,a garden patch or redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

this quote is one i almost try to define my life with. especially about how other have breathed better because i have lived. i would want my gravestone to read somthing along the lines of "here lies rebecca, who tried her best to make the world a better place for all who live in it."

i would love to leave behind some work behind, a book, or artwork, or some public contribution. i struggle with a desire for anomninity and wanting to be known and respected and admired. but also have a family, a basic life, that again contrasts with a desire to break from the ordinary. a remarkable life is what i really ask for.

legacy is a loaded word. nothing else really encompasses our mortality and desire to leave somthing behind us. although i would, once again, to leave some great work behind me. but moreso, i want my legacy(oh what a heavy word!)to live on in the hearts of others. in my family. in people i have helped. i believe that helping others, in any sense, but escpecailly the poor, the hungry, the down and out of the world, will go on to help others, and that creates a legacy. that those who were helped will go one to help others, and a few beginning action can create a movement to save the world. i want to be a part of that.
Andra Lauren said…
1. Here lies Andra
She loved and served others.
malinna said…
this just came to me today. when my father was dying, a nurse in hospice told me that above all else, my father could hear me before he passed away. and i don't understand why it is that these realizations come to me when i am most relaxed (in the shower, driving my car or near the end of a dream,) but... if hearing is our last "sense," then i want to have you speaking or singing softly in my ear.
i know this doesn't have any relevance to the comments above... but, i felt this was important somehow. music being such an important part of my being and life - this would be my last wish.
Anonymous said…
I thought about my answers before I typed them out. And I had realized, that I've thought about these questions before. Not from this blog, but from previous blogs you've written. Reading your past blogs, has led my to think about these questions before. I know I'm not replying to this blog with the answers to your questions or better yet my questions. But, I feel as if, the past blogs all came together to help me know thyself. And I can honestly answer those questions feeling good about myself. I guess this is a Thank You Mr. Christian.

-Zarina Kay
themockingbyrd said…
I'm stumped on the first question, and the only answer that succinctly summarizes the sort of life I'd like to lead is an unadorned "Here lies Hans Shenk: a good man', because while none of us actually are good, what is there better than being a good man (or woman, as the case may be, but since I'm a man...)? If your memory embodies to your posterity the impression of what makes men good, that seems to me to be the highest achievable goal. Obviously, there are other fitting things, like 'Here lies a man who gave his all." or "Here lies a redeemed sinner," but I think the point of either one of those can be effortlessly folded into "Here lies a good man."

My obituary'll have to be as though I'd died right now, because looking back on a life I haven't yet lived is so strange to me, and my goals are so undefined that all I can be sure of is a desire to share my art (in whatever form) with as many people as possible, and to brighten the collective lives of as many people as possible. Perhaps the intent of the question isn't so much a detailed obituary, as a consideration of our goals for the future, and our accomplishments thus far. And if that's the case, I suppose I've answered the question as well as I can.

What legacy would I like to leave? Hm. That humanity is not fundamentally hopeless, that "through the darkest night, His light will shine" and that introspection and thoughtful consideration of the world around us should be hallmarks of our lives.

I think.
amsa said…
1. this is something I have thought about a lot actually. It was a thought that used to creep me out, but after my dad passed away it was a comforting and weird thought I guess. So here it is:

Here lies A.M.S.A.
April 19, 1985- ____________
Thoughtful daughter, loving mother, playful sister, passionate wife, cool aunt, amusing Gramsa, and loyal friend. She did it her way, every note to the symphony of life.

2. The passing of respected and acclaimed Music Producer A.M.S.A., happened yesterday evening. She was found, in what looked like a blissful sleep in her Venice Beach home, with her antique headphones on listening to the finals mixes for her last production master piece. Amanda, survived by her adoring husband, gifted children, complex and caring extended family; a passion for music, happiness and knowledge; and the kindness and loyalty of friends and strangers. She died at the age of ___ with a list of accomplishments that can't even begin to fill these pages. She often joked that she could forsee the future. After some time of always being right, her rambles about her future aspirations were stated as if she had already seen them taking place. She cursed like a sailor and drank whiskey like a cowboy, but her infectious generosity and desire to help those who needed a little extra encouragement would allow all who knew her to see her for the lady she was. Husband _______ and best friend ________ agreed that she left as fast and abruptly as she entered our life, leaving only a memory of her 'in-your-face' personality, blunt honesty retorts and generous heart that will be remembered as unparalleled.
Amanda's final resting place will be in the Commonwealth of Virginia, where no matter where she went in the world, Virginia was always home.

Join us, her friends and family tomorrow for a party to celebrate the life of A.M.S.A. New and old friends welcome. Festivities will be at her home and recording studio where there will be music (a list of songs hand selected by Amanda herself), laughter and great conversations. Because after all, she wouldn't have had it any other way. Please do not send flowers, please make a donation in her name to a charity of your choice.

3. The legacy I want to leave behind is inspiration. I want to inspire other people to be excellent to eachother and to give your fellow man a helping hand, just because it would make that minute go by with a little less grief. Life is complicated and turbulant enough without adding in the little negative things people put into the world. I also want to be a producer. Not just a producer though, I want to be the kind of producer that is considered the honorary last member of every musical group I work with. And that'll be because I will put down on tracks exactly what is heard in a writer's head. There's nothing more rewarding than getting something perfect in real life, the way it's so vividly been in your head. I'd like to leave that very mentality and legacy imprinted every where I go.
Anonymous said…
1. Here lies a woman who lived, laughed, and LOVED.

2. ___ passed after a life spent helping wherever she could, reveling in the little things, and loving everyone she met. She is survived by her family and friends, who, though they miss her, know that she is now having even more fun than before.

3. If I could leave a legacy it would be of reminding people that the smallest acts of kindness can make the biggest difference in someone's life. I mean if you can make someone's day better by holding the door, letting them merge in front of you, or just smiling, why not?
Sarah said…
1. Here lies Sarah. Only child and loving friend.

2. Sarah [Last Name] grew up in a small town in Maine. As a little girl she played with Barbies and watched VeggieTales. Three years after her birth her cousin, Austen, was born. During their childhood they were very close. At school, she was a very good student, with reading skills that excelled the standards of her age. Starting in seventh grade she played field hockey and basketball, continuing only field hockey in high school. Also, all through her school years, during the summer, she went to camp molly where she met her closest life-long friends. After highschool she attended college, majoring in English Literature and minoring in Computer Science. When she was twenty-one she sucessfully published a book of short stories. A few years afterward, her parents died in their sleep -- due to old age. Her life ended when she found out she had an untreated maglignant brain tumor. She leaves behind her husband, two children (Alice and Danny), and many friends.

3. I want my legacy to be that I lived life to the fulliest.

[I haven't actually lived long enough to have anything of those things I mentioned, past highschool, but I wanted to write about a whole life rather than a half-lived one]
JG said…
1. "Here lies Jennifer Carr Garcia, she led a common and beautiful life."

2. Jennifer Carr Garcia passed away last week. Jennifer led a life she viewed as common but unique. Honest and real, Jennifer was never afraid to stand her ground, speak her mind, or share what she had with others. Starting her career in radio in 2000, Jennifer worked at radio stations such as WBCN in Boston, Channel 104.9 in San Jose, and X 103.9 in San Bernardino. Jennifer left the radio industry in late 2007 to pursue a career as a Special Educator. Jennifer spent the remaining years of her life helping students reach their full potential and at the same time, she always felt she was reaching hers. Jennifer's strong faith in God and trust in her family and friends got her through many tough times and helped her raise her family. It was through her connection to others that Jennifer made the most impact on the people around her. Jennifer will be missed by her close family and friends and by the thousands of students she helped.

3. When I pass on, I'd like to leave a legacy for my family through photos and my words. I'd like to show them that though my story may be common, it's mine and they should feel pride in their own stories. I want to show that I worked hard to find a true balance in my life and that part of growing and changing is finding the pieces of you that you keep hidden inside and finding a way to share those with the world!
Chris[Miss] said…
1) Here lies yet another dead body. Nothing new, nothing special. It's what she stood for that matters...not this stone.

2)At times she was a sinner, at times a saint. Sometimes life's journey made her faint. She cried, she laughed, she danced, she died. You see, in the end, she swallowed her pride.

3)The legacy I'd like to leave is that I lived to the fullest and it all ended at God's side.
Hennie said…
1. imagine that you are standing in a graveyard looking at your own tombstone. now write the epitaph you would like to see there. begin with the words "here lies..."

- I want to be burn to ashes, put in those little tiny capsules and left all around the world to places that I've been. Am I sounding crazy? Hope not, but I've always wanted to be in 100 places at the same time.

2. write your own obituary (don't make it brief). how do you want people to think of your life, to remember you?

- My mom would probably want one of those capsules, so she'd also get my obituary - since it won't fit into each and every one of those little capsules.
I'd love peaople to remember me as good, loving & caring person, who never stopped loving her family, her friends. Who never stopped loving music, who never stopped singing - not even on her deathbed (Singing is my destiny, and I swear I will sing on my deathbed). I'd want people to remember me as someone unselfish person, who was always ready help the people in need. Most of all I'd want them to remember me as a loving mother, wife (I'm not yet, but hopefully will be someday), and friend.

3. what legacy would you like to leave when you die?

- Legacy is such a big word.
But, I would like to leave my music as a legacy for the generations to come. I'd love my music to inspire people, courage them to reach for their dreams since they are right there for all of them to reach. I'd like to leave melodies, that people would remember. Songs that would bring people to think. Lyrics that would make them write by themselves.
Matt said…
During my junior year of high school, one of my teachers made us answer those questions. It's crazy how much thinking about those questions and answering them in great detail really does make you think. I'll look for that paper and see if I can find it.
SBV said…
My epitaph:

Here lies... Shari. She cared, she tried, she loved... she died with passion, determination and a sparkle in her eye that matched the glitter in her hair. Every animal's best friend'.

My obituary:

The shy, quiet, caring female who stood up for what she believed in. Someone with passion and dedication. Someone who tried to change the world in the little way she could, knowing that she was one, and every one counts. Someone who inspired others, and wanted to make the world a better place. Someone who was a crazy contradiction - insecure but opinionated (when she wanted to be), a fragile but tough cookie, serious but silly sometimes, sensitive but fiesty. Someone who had a great life, did great things, travelled the world, and had an amazing time. While dressed head to toe in velvet! Someone else once said she was 'difficult and challenging' - because they didn't get what they wanted. She supported those who deserved it. And those who didn't missed out. Only a privileged few really got to know her. Her best friends were her two dogs that died before her, and her parents who she loved with all her heart.

My legacy:

I'm a bit confused about legacy. Should this be a physical/material gift? I also don't know who will get my legacy because I'm not planning on having children and I'm an only child. I guess any items I have I would donate to animal charities (because I care about animal rights). If the legacy is not material or specific goods then it would be my inspiration. I would want to inspire others to speak up for animals or anyone who is abused or mistreated. I would give them the courage and conviction to believe in their own thoughts, to not be a sheep and do what others say if they don't agree, to not be afraid to stand out and be different. My legacy would also be the gift of life for many animals. I'm hoping that one day animal testing and other cruel torturous acts will be stopped. I would like animals to have the same rights to a good life as we do. And of course other people in less fortunate circumstances. I would like everyone and thing to be equal and respect each other.
M. Shotliff said…
1.) Here lies Mariana Rachel Shotliff, Beloved Wife, Mother, Sister, and Friend

2 & 3.) I'd really like to write my own obituary someday. I remember about a year and a half ago, I read an obituary written by the deceased himself, and it gave a much greater insight to who he was, and what parts of his life HE thought were important, rather than the things most people characterize a person by (where they were born, where they were educated, where they worked, etc). I felt like I KNEW that person, much better than I would have by just reading a synopsis of his life written by someone else, as they saw it (oops, that was a tangent. Back on course.)

Thinking about how I want to be remembered, and how I want my obituary to read, I realize I have a lot of work to do. I want to be remembered as a person who was always there without needing to be asked. A person who gave back to the world and didn't just take. Also, a person who was able to make light out of dark situations, and make people laugh or smile when they would have cried.

More than anything, I want people to be happy when they think of me after my passing, whether making a joke or remembering "Mariana would have loved this". It's one of those "don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened" sort of things. I want them to be happier about my life than they are sad about my death.
Cali said…
man i love this question heres my first draft...but i think its just gonna change as the years go on...id actually liek to keep a journal and start each entry with whatever my tombstone would read if i died that day

here lies Cali a hopeless romantic who fell in love with music, plenty of regrets but nothing she'd change
tabitha_Reilly said…
Hey Stephen,

I did my epitaph and obituary, they are on my website. The obituary is in my blogs. You're welcome to read if you like, it is nothing personal. I think that was a really good written assignment that you came up with, it helped me to think about how I want to live my life and what choices I would need to make to reach that goal. Heres my website: tabithareilly.org

Popular posts from this blog

New, easy, quick! Extend your life by 7 years!

'cellf' absorbed

true friends stab you in the front -oscar wilde