The startling news broke yesterday. An obituary was published revealing that the comic book hero Spiderman had died. The obituary was published in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune on November 25. His real name was Aaron Purmort.
In Aaron’s obituary it was revealed that he died “after complications from a radioactive spider bite that led to years of crime-fighting and a years long battle with a nefarious criminal named Cancer.” Yes, in all likelihood, this was not really THE Spiderman.
But this news story raised an incredibly important question in my mind. What do I want my obituary to read when I die? This question of legacy is so important, especially as we face a new year. Stephen Covey was right on target when he wrote his classic “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” We should begin with the end in mind.
Years ago I was asked to conduct a graveside service for a family I had never met. Arriving early I saw a few people gathered by the already in place casket. I introduced myself and apologized that I never had the opportunity to meet the deceased. One of the people to whom I spoke grunted and muttered, “You didn’t miss much.” Oh. My. Word. Really?
If you are reading this you can begin this day with the end in mind. You can live your remaining days in such a way that when you die you leave a legacy of your choosing behind. Your obituary may not reveal that you were a Superhero. But then again, why not?
Here is the full obituary which appeared in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:
Purmort, Aaron Joseph age 35, died peacefully at home on November 25 after complications from a radioactive spider bite that led to years of crime-fighting and a years long battle with a nefarious criminal named Cancer, who has plagued our society for far too long. Civilians will recognize him best as Spider-Man, and thank him for his many years of service protecting our city. His family knew him only as a kind and mild-mannered Art Director, a designer of websites and t-shirts, and concert posters who always had the right cardigan and the right thing to say (even if it was wildly inappropriate). Aaron was known for his long, entertaining stories, which he loved to repeat often. In high school, he was in the band The Asparagus Children, which reached critical acclaim in the northern suburbs. As an adult, he graduated from the College of Visual Arts (which also died an untimely death recently) and worked in several agencies around Minneapolis, settling in as an Interactive Associate Creative Director at Colle + McVoy. Aaron was a comic book aficionado, a pop-culture encyclopedia and always the most fun person at any party. He is survived by his parents Bill and Kim Kuhlmeyer, father Mark Purmort (Patricia, Autumn, Aly), sisters Erika and Nicole, first wife Gwen Stefani, current wife Nora and their son Ralph, who will grow up to avenge his father’s untimely death. A service will be held on December 3, 2014 at Shelter Studios, 721 Harding St. NE, Mpls 55413 at 6 pm.