“Friedrich Nietzsche, a Philosophical Renegade Whose Ideas Endured”
“Robin Williams, Whose Films Ranged From Oscar-Winning to Outrageous”
“Louis Armstrong, the Entertainer Who Epitomized Jazz”

The headlines used for three obituaries. Nihilist philosopher. Renowned actor. Trumpet player. I never really cared for obituaries. They never interested me. Until my professor made me look at obituaries in another way.

What will you be known for? Those hours you spend on your weekdays. Weekends. The responses that drift from your mouth. The interactions you have with the world. What is going to be the sentence of your life? I would start to make my own, but mine would be ultimately different from everyone else’s. I only ever see myself through my reflection, an unreliable perception of reality.

So many stories, films, and books are based on people that are trying to leave a mark on the world. To be written down in history. Will you just be a name on a decaying tombstone or a name with a legacy? Brent Shavnore is the latter. After a few days of posting Violet, I came to an unfortunate realization. I have no essence yet. I followed some leads that ended up being dead-ends. I had nothing. Until I met Brent.

I didn’t actually meet Brent right away; his physical form has nothing to do with our first interaction and my initial impression. I scrolled through a social media platform. A picture caught my eye. It was a tornado ripping up a beautiful beach. Shavnore quoted: When a storm rips you to pieces, it is entirely up to you to put yourself back together. Curious as to who created this digital art, I found myself reaching out to him.

Over the bar at Fosko Coffee, Brent and I met and had a few conversations. At this coffee restaurant, he told me some great stories. Moving from town to town. Serving in the military. Helping make stadiums. Creating beautiful digital art. Brent has done a lot. Every day at 5 am, Brent meditate and prepares for his day; he goes out knowing-waiting for another great story to happen. Shavnore doesn’t wait for life to happen; he makes it happen. Brent strives to get his legacy; he works hard for the best sentence of his life.

If you got a chance to read your own obituary, would you? Would you feel incompetent or comforted? Life will come to an end, faster than expected. We can’t control time, accidents, or aging. We can’t control other’s opinions, thoughts, or actions. In the end, it’s up to someone else to write your obituary. One full life summed up in a few hundred words.

Is it fair? To know we’ll all crash, be forgotten, or given false appearance? Is it fair to not be able to choose our last breath or heartbeat? I don’t know the answer to this question. I’m only a few years into this playing field, but mine can end just as soon as it started.

I got from Brent that we are in control of our legacy. What we do every morning to evening. We control that. A legacy is something everyone leaves behind. It probably won’t make the history books, televisions, or newspapers, but who cares if it does? Your legacy stays with the ones you loved, cared for, and knew. It remains with the ones who explored life with us.

They’re the ones that hold onto our legacy. They’re the ones who will write the headline for us.

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