Life, Death, and Technology

Warning: Heavy Depressing Stuff Ahead

Saturday morning I learned of my father's passing on Facebook.  Yea, Facebook.  I wasn't expecting to read something like that on a social networking site, let alone expecting his death.  We hadn't talked for many years and had a relationship that could be best characterized as intermittent and strained.  He was only 62 and had a massive heart attack while camping alone.  I learned he had just retired in March of this year.

Dad never quite understood my fascination or what I was doing with amateur radio and computers.  He dropped out of school in eighth grade to work on his parents' dairy farm in rural Pennsylvania Amish country but later left the farm to become an auto mechanic.  Somehow I never inherited his instinctive mechanical skills but took a different route and became involved with electronics, radio, and computers.  Unfortunately we were often in two different worlds and support and praise was hard to come by.  But all the years of tearing apart radios and writing code on a Commodore VIC 20 eventually led to my professional career.  However, I did inherit an appreciation of the outdoors from him and my interest in hiking, hunting, and outdoor amateur radio operating are undoubtedly a result of our hikes and hunts.  I think I also inherited his initiative in organizing and leading clubs and events, as he did on many occasions over the years for hunting and sportsmen clubs.  And he taught me right from wrong.

In 2000 my mother passed after a 20 year fight with cancer.  I was pretty much useless for six months after that.  A few months after life started getting back to normal, 9/11 hit.  Needless to say 2000 and 2001 weren't good years for me.  I doubt I'll be in a long term funk like I was after my mother's death, however there's some baggage to deal with due to the unreconciled issues and the sad state the relationship was left in, and can never be resolved or repaired.

I've been hearing from a lot of friends and family on email and Facebook.  It's ironic that the technology that often symbolized the chasm in our relationship has been an instrumental means of support and communication during this emotional time.

Don't leave loose ends... you never know when you're going to go QRT for good.
Anthony Good, K3NG, is a regular contributor to and writes from Pennsylvania, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

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