Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Personal Note on the Passing of my Father


I usually don't put anything deeply personal on this blog, but today I make an exception.

For three years after his massive stroke, my dad was severely handicapped and struggled with his reduced mental and physical capacities, recurrent illnesses and infections, and the inability to eat or drink except through an abdominal tube. As a strong, stubborn, self-reliant man whose habit was to dig in and work hard instead of receiving aid, it was a difficult time for him.

Around 2am today (16 Jan 2013) he found peace.

It is best to remember the beefy guy with the Amish-style beard who always had projects, cared so much for the wild animals that frequented his property, just couldn't stop working, couldn't stop learning, and taught himself anything he wanted to know.  His fascination with the natural world and many technologies was entirely out of line with the background and opportunities he was allowed as a young man.

We can also remember his stubbornness, frustrations, and the prejudices and preferences that marked him as a product of his time. This too was part of a very real human life.

I think we'll never forget how much he loved music, nor how incredibly tone deaf he was. It was astounding. There was usually some music playing at our house when he was home, often 50s country music and southern gospel (his tastes and mine varied significantly) but sometimes swing.

He and I had many differences, and I was not what one might call a devoted son in my teen years. I was a mess, and a hassle, and my relationship with my father was a wreck. We shared a stubbornness, but my "values" were quite far from his and frankly I was a self-important and self-involved young guy with an income and a car and a chip on my shoulder.

Once I became a man, working a job, building a career, learning and developing, taking on responsibility, we were able to develop a respect and genuine fondness for each other. We enjoyed walking the property, talking, sharing projects with each other, and of course old movies and older jokes.

Though he was an imperfect guy and had a very rough start in life, he gave us a good start and passed on his curiosity and stubbornness.

He was our first advantage.