It’s been 6 months and I miss you more than ever. I love you dad. You are so deeply missed.
My dad died suddenly on March 26, 2013. I have about a dozen, half-written blog posts on my computer that I just can’t bring myself to publish. Some of these posts describe the life of my dad, and others are my conversations with him after his death. None of these posts feel right. None of these posts are good enough to describe his life, his accomplishments, his lasting influence on me, or how horribly I miss him. He was my father and my very best friend. And his loss is so incredibly painful.
But I have to move on. By writing a few incomplete thoughts here I am hoping that I can move forward in some little way. I know that dad would want that.
The night before he died, dad talked with my entire family. He spoke to my three kids telling them each how much he loved and missed them. Then, he and I had our last conversation. Dad told me how much he loved me, and how I have made him proud. He was unusually sad, and he said it over and over again. I feel now that he, in some way, knew his time had come.
Since he passed away, I’ve wondered what I could have said differently to him during our last call. I told him that I loved him, that I missed him very much, and that I would see him very soon. I am so happy that these were my last words to him, although I’ve been struggling with the last part of that sentence for the past 96 days. Soon wasn’t soon enough.
But over the past few weeks, I have seen my dad in ways that I didn’t see before. I see my dad in my oldest girl’s mannerisms, in my boy’s physical appearance, and in my youngest girl’s expressions. I feel my dad within me in the way that I hold my hands against my face sometimes, in the way that I hug my children, and in the way that I love and care for my mother. He is ever present. He is all around me.
So I have to get better at not missing the things that I can’t have – his laugh, his advice, his concern, his voice – and I need to focus on the things about my dad that I still carry with me. There is so much to be grateful for and I need to appreciate and honour all that I have gained through my extraordinary relationship with my beloved father.
I miss you dad. I love you more than anything, and I am thankful for everything that you have given me. You’ve made me the man that I am today. And I will not disappoint you.
Today, the world lost a remarkable man – a visionary and a world-changer. You will be deeply missed Steve.
I’ve always loved this video (above) of Steve introducing the Macintosh in 1984. There’s something about the look on his face as people applaud near the end – it’s like they all knew Steve would change the world. And, as we all know now, he truly did.
This morning I noticed an emotional thread on Reddit, a popular, user-generated, social news site. The thread began as an IamA/AMA (“I Am a [blank], ask me anything…”) where a pseudonymous poster (‘lucidendings’) described having only 51 hours to live due to a long battle with cancer and having chosen to die under Oregon’s Death With Dignity Act. While reading through the comments, it was difficult not to get caught up in the emotion around this post and the outpouring of (mostly) kindness toward this person. I’m a sucker for these kinds of stories, the #ShinyHappyInternet as my friend Jen often jests, and I regularly use such examples in my presentations (e.g., Help Me Fix My Last Picture of Mom, Kathleen Gets a Toy Shopping Spree).
If you follow the story through the thread, you will see remarkable things. For instance, the thread itself (at the time of writing) has over 6500 comments, the majority being kind & generous. There’s the user-generated map featuring warm, heart-felt messages from across the globe. There’s the touching but short-video from a Youtuber featuring a star-balloon as it rises to the sky (wait for the smile at the end). Then there’s the flurry of people attempting to stream the sun rising in Key West as it was identified by lucidending’s as a favorite moment in life.
Yet, the entire time I read through these threads and viewed the kindness of strangers, I thought to myself, what if this person is lying? It happens (thanks Chris). In this case, we may never know for sure. But how demoralizing could this be for a community (online or not)?
But maybe it doesn’t matter. Maybe the humanity that emerges here in times like this is enough for us to be optimistic. Jen notes,”That whole thing is a good example of an occasion where it doesn’t matter if the original post is authentic.”
In digging deeper into the original thread, I find this gem. One Redditer, in critiquing the outpouring writes:
…another bandwagon to jump on. Just like the TSA and Wikileaks, reddits short attention span settles on the death of a complete stranger.
Countless people around the world are going to die today. Almost none of them are going to make that choice, almost none of them are going to choose to die today.
Lucid got to choose when to die. He gets to prepare. Not one tear for all the other deaths, but a thread of people bitching about onions for this guy.
He deserves the attention he’s getting. What he’s gone though, and what he will do through in the next few days… well, none of us could ever comprehend it.
And this is countered with the following …
I think you fundamentally misunderstand the outpouring of emotion for Lucidending. The outpouring of emotion is for all those faceless and nameless deaths, for our own deaths, and all the ones before and since. The outpouring of emotion is a small window into our own mortality and humanity, and with it the pain, love, joy, and despair of them all.
Lucidendings, if your destiny is as you describe, I feel nothing but warm thoughts for you and I wish you all the best on your journey. In any case, your post has inspired others to be generous, caring, and inspiring to others. I can still believe that the Internet, and of course the world that it reflects, is a (mostly) shiny, happy place.
So what are your thoughts on all of this?
Update: As was somewhat suspected, lucidending’s story may have been a hoax. Gawker’s Adrian Chen has taken responsibility for the hoax, although that story is also being disputed.