Who will be the last to speak my name? Will it be my son, one of his kids or one their kids? Will it be a student or one of their students? Will it be someone I have already met? Or, will it be someone I have yet to meet or may never meet?

I wonder what they will be like. What values do they hold? What philosophies do they embody? Will he or she be much different than me?

How far, if far at all, from the place of its first speaking will it last be spoken?

If it is a picture that elicits my name, when will it be taken? Has it already been taken?

Will they whisper it alone in a moment of solitude or aloud at a social gathering?

Will it be spoken over coffee or a late-night drink?

Will it be spoken in a classroom or on a plane, during a meeting or on a walk, sitting around a bonfire or at the edge of a cliff?

Will it be spoken in a moment of exhilaration or contemplation, happiness or sadness, confidence or uncertainty?

How will the one who last speaks my name want to use my name?

What story will they tell?

In this story, will they refer to me as a father, grandfather, husband, brother, uncle, teacher, or something else that I am yet to become?

Is it a funny story or a mundane story? Is it a cautionary tale or an inspirational tale? Am I the good guy or the bad guy? What do I stand for?

If I am used as an example, what am I an example of?

If they are asked to describe me, what is the elevator pitch they give to encapsulate my life?

What will be said? What do I want to be said? What do I hope is said?

Will they talk about what I created or what I owned?

Will they talk about my work? Has it already been made or is it yet to be made?

What is my work? Am I doing it now? If not, what am I waiting for?

When will my name last be spoken? What is the date? What year? What month? What day?

Am I supposed to strive and struggle to push that date as far into the future as possible?

If so, how is that accomplished?

What would I accomplish in the process of accomplishing that?

Would I accomplish what I am supposed to accomplish?

When my name does get spoken for the last time, what happens after that happens?

Is that it? Is that all there is?

Beyond the transmission of my genetic material, is that the last time my humanity has relevance?

Do I no longer shape, move or transform the life trajectories of others?

If so, is that the moment when I really die?

Does the spark that I entered into this world with finally get extinguished?

Is there just darkness?

Do we really only get one life, one go-around, one shot?

Or, is that the moment when someone or something turns to me and says “You had a good run. Are you ready to do it again?”

I never really liked the dark.

So, if so, I will say “yes, yes I am ready.”

Or, maybe our names need not be spoken for our lives to still resonate. I am the product of many names. Some I know. Many I do not. Some are from the present. Many are from the past. I do not know all their names. I do not speak all their names. But, I am still of their names.

However, just in case, I am going to name the names of those that I know who have left their mark on me.

Whatever your name I invite you to do the same.


If you enjoyed this blog, you may enjoy my This is the Work newsletter.

Thanks. – shawn