Good Math, Bad Math

The Man I called Fink

My father died on sunday.

To some degree, I’m still in shock. Even though we knew it was coming, when something like this happens, no amount of preparation really helps. He’d been sick with an antibiotic resistant infection since November, and on thursday, refused to let them give him a feeding tube. So we really knew, almost to the day, when he was going to die. And yet, when it finally happened, it was still a shock.

We buried him yesterday. I didn’t speak at the funeral, because I couldn’t. Every time I try to talk about him, my voice just shuts down. But my fingers don’t. So if you’ll bear with me, I want to say a little bit about my father.

If you enjoy reading this blog, you owe him. He’s the person who got me interested in math, and who taught me how to teach. To give you an example that I remember particularly vividly: when I was in fourth grade, he was doing work on semiconductor manufacturing. He
had brought home a ream of test data from a manufacturing run, and was sitting at our dining room table, paper spread out around him, doing an analysis of the data. I walked in, and asked what he was doing. He stopped working, and proceeded to explain to me what he was doing. That evening, he taught me about bell curves, linear regression, and standard deviation. He was able to make all of that understandable – both how to do it, and why you do it – to a fourth grader.

Until I went to college, I pretty much didn’t learn math in school. He taught me. I learned algebra, geometry, and calculus from my father, not from my math teachers. He bought me my first book on programming.

He was a soldier in World War two. He dropped out of high school, and lied about his age in order to be allowed to enlist. As far as I know, that was one of the only times in
his life that he lied about something important. But to him, doing his part to defend his country was more important than the rule about how old he had to be to enlist. He didn’t end up fighting; his unit didn’t get deployed to the front. He would up spending his time in the army in India.

After coming home, he went to college on the GI bill, and became a physicist. But calling him a physicist is a little deceptive: he was a very hands on person. He wound up
doing work that most people would call electrical engineering. He worked on semiconductors mainly for satellites and military applications. During his career, he worked on things ranging from communication satellites, to the Trident and MX missiles, to the power system for the Galileo space probe. I had my disagreements with him over working on the missiles; he believed very strongly in the whole idea of deterrence, that his work would not be used to harm people, but would prevent another war. And it does appear that he was right about that. But I was always prouder of his work on Galileo.

Music was an incredibly important thing to him. He made all three of his kids learn
music. Back when my brother and I were in high school, he used to spend something around 12
hours a week driving to music lessons or rehearsals. And he never missed a concert that one
of his kids played in – from the time we started playing instruments in elementary school,
all the way until he was hospitalized last november. My brother and sister both ended up going into music: my brother majored in music performance and composition in college; my sister in music education. Musically, I’m the black sheep of the family.

He was a survivor of cancer. 20 years ago, he developed an aggressive muscular cancer in his leg. Being incredibly lucky, even though he stalled for months after noticing a lump in his leg, it was operable, and between surgery and radiation therapy, he survived it. A year later, there appeared to be a recurrence; it turned out to just be scar tissue, but in the surgery where they discovered that, they needed to do an arterial graft, which caused intermittent trouble for the rest of his life.

Since high school, I called him “Fink”. I don’t even remember why. But he bore it with pride. When I had kids, he wanted them to call him grandfink.

He died of an antibiotic resistant infection. As long as I live, I’ll never be able to forgive the Doctors who took care of him. The illness that killed him started with an infection in his little toe. Due to a spectacularly stupid series of errors – where basically repeated infections with antibiotic resistant bacteria were not treated properly – he developed antibiotic resistant pneumonia, which is what ended up killing him.

He was 80 years old. He was an amazing person. And he will be missed.

Comments

  1. #1 Dennis
    May 22, 2007

    *Hug*

    That’s about all I can offer. I know from recent experience that words at a time like this are meaningless.

  2. #2 Bill Moon
    May 22, 2007

    That was a great description of someone who was clearly a great dad. I am sorry for your loss.

  3. #3 Mark
    May 22, 2007

    There is a group of people who share at least one thing in common – those who have lost a father. I belong to that group, too. My father, too, died after an illness that we knew would kill him. We knew it would be fairly soon, but we always thought it would be some other day. And then one day it happened. I will honor your father by remembering mine.

  4. #4 decrepitoldfool
    May 22, 2007

    Such a moving post. Deepest sympathy for your loss, and for how it happened.

  5. #5 Science Avenger
    May 22, 2007

    I have the same kind of father. I learned more about science watching Star Trek, Nova, and Wild Kingdom, with him there to answer and ask questions than I ever learned in school. He made a 4-year-old understand the significance of man going to the moon. I can only imagine what it will be like when he goes. Thanks for sharing Mark, and my condolences.

  6. #6 Eric Juve
    May 22, 2007

    My condolences to you and your family. I want to add that I am sure he was very proud of you. Keep up the good work.

  7. #7 Nick Johnson
    May 22, 2007

    What you describe reminds me strongly of my own grandfather, who inspired in me the love of computer science I have today. I know that he would be proud of me, were he still around, and I’m incredibly grateful to him for setting me on this path.

    What you describe is also pretty close to the sort of dad I’d like to be some day.

    You have my heartfelt condolences for your loss.

  8. #8 agricola
    May 22, 2007

    My condolences on the passing of your father. He sounds like a wonderful person, father, and man.

  9. #9 Mark Papadakis
    May 22, 2007

    I am truly sorry for your loss. Your father must have been a great person; so many few of them left on this world. In regards to the doctors who treated him, my best friend’s brother checked in the hospital 2 weeks ago for a check-up, they administered him an antibiotics injection and he died in 15 seconds, an otherwise ultra-healthy person. Enough said.

  10. #10 Chad Groft
    May 22, 2007

    Mark, I’m so sorry. Your father reminds me of mine; he isn’t so technical as yours was, but he’s responsible for the path I followed. I’ll echo Nick Johnson here — someday I hope to be that sort of father.

  11. #11 Hugo
    May 22, 2007

    From your description of your father’s life, you had a great father — like few are lucky to have. Thanks to him, today I can read this amazing blog.

    I don’t know maths — though I’m still studying it at college — because I wasn’t properly taught at school, nor did I have family or friends that would. Still, this blog is one of the few things, besides programming, that keep me the more of an enthusiast of maths, and less of an ignorant.

    Recently, another champion like your father (the latter surely was proud of his amazing kids) died. From the seriousness of her sudden disease — an aneurysm whose treatment resulted in vasospasm — I could abdicate from criticising the medical staff that attended her at the ER. Yet, as you’ll further see the implications, some people were not born to become doctors or nurses; for she was only 29, and 6 hours of a mere serum cannot cure, nor a last hour transference to a fully equipped ER.

    This happened a couple of weeks ago, in one of Europe’s worst ranked countries on maths: Portugal. This is not a rant on this country’s ignorant culture — for it has great history in science — nor its poorness — for it was once a world power. It’s a rant on what made it ignorant, poor, and hopeless — and it affects many other. It’s rant on pride, prejudice, and social status that certainly contributed for my friend’s premature departure.

    She was an intelligent physical educator who built her career on hard work and love for what she did. She could have been all of those things that confer social status in this country: lawyer, doctor, architect, politician (yeah, no kidding). But, no, she did what she loved to do.

    Notwithstanding, there were many students who sought and seek, even today (uh, as if times actually changed), a graduation that provides social status and diploms. Today, they prefer to ignore complaints of nausea, and strong headaches, and argument that these are mere childish complaints; instead of grabbing they’re science blade and rip through the tissues of uncertainty. I’m not talking of an isolated occurrence — I’m talking of everyday neglect and carelessness, I’m talking of the lack of the actual pride, the pride to build something for humanity with a design.

    Doctors, and politicians might be who most impact of both kinds — status and anger — cause in my country, but this affects every profession. And all seem to refuse knowledge. And all seem so because they were not lucky enough to be taught properly, not enough to enjoy knowledge and look after for more. But your father instilled that on you. And my friend would listen, teach, and learn.

    While based on comparison of wealth — material, intellectual, of health, or whatever is yet to become susceptible of being collected and evaluated –, society will be upper bounded by ignorance and selfishness. And people will die in many ways.

    Still, we are here to remember the best of them and learn.

    [Excuse me for long, and angry post.]

  12. #12 ing
    May 22, 2007

    Tonight, I’m going to raise my glass to all those people that took the time to inspire us; for they’re ones who make to biggest difference to our lives.

  13. #13 Jon
    May 22, 2007

    My deepest sympathy to you and your family.

  14. #14 Richard Clayton
    May 22, 2007

    Your father sounds like an amazing man. I don’t know what to say except that you have my sincerest condolences. ::hug::

  15. #15 Craig
    May 22, 2007

    I’m very sorry to hear about your loss.

  16. #16 Jeb, FCD
    May 22, 2007

    You’re a good kid.

    I only hope when my time comes, my son will be able to feel and to write something like this.

    With Warm Regards,
    Jeb

  17. #17 Anonymous
    May 22, 2007

    You have my condolences… *hug* He sounds like a great man. I’m sure he was proud of you… you sure were proud of him.

    You were a lucky man to have such a wonderful father.

  18. #18 Liz Tracey
    May 22, 2007

    My condolences and sympathies to you and your family. My father passed away last Tuesday. He was 84 and much like yours, taught me so much about science and math that I have carried with me always — so much so that I ended up leaving business and going back to school so I could “go pro”. I got to share my classes with him, and just as he had explained concepts to me when I was younger, I shared things back with him over the past 4 years. Your work honors him. I hope that your sadness will mellow with time into the bittersweet pleasure of remembrance.

  19. #19 Jon L
    May 22, 2007

    I’m sorry…

  20. #20 Jeff
    May 22, 2007

    You have my condolences, Mark. My thoughts go out to you and your family.

  21. #21 djs
    May 22, 2007

    my sympathy and condolences. Keep up the good work.

  22. #22 Mark VandeWettering
    May 22, 2007

    My deepest condolences and sympathy goes out to you and your family. My father helped me start building my first telescope when I was 11. He developed Hodgkins disease and passed away when I was 14, at basically the same age I am now. I finally finished that telescope when I was 28, and now I try to teach others how build them. I’d like to think that the best of our parents live on in us. I hope that for you as well.

  23. #23 Anonymous
    May 22, 2007

    He sounds like an incredibly decent person. I wish there were more like him. I wish every child had a parent who loved to talk and interact with them, who was fascinated by the world and shared his/her fascination with them, who helped them find their own inspirations, and who was silly with them.

  24. #24 Brian X
    May 22, 2007

    Mark, my condolences. My father is sitting on the other side of the basement watching the tail end of SVU at the moment… I don’t know if I can think of much he’s inspired in me, but he’s easy for everyone (including me) to get along with, and I suspect if nothing else I got a lot of my sense of humor from him.

    Now my grandfather… I don’t suppose he would be called a great man. He had a career as a firefighter, which apparently he was quite good at, but he also had a drinking problem and a thing for the ponies, and really none of us got to know the real him until his wife, my only grandmother as far as I was concerned, became incapacitated with Huntington’s disease and he more or less quit drinking cold turkey. But one thing he did inspire in me early on was a love of cooking, and losing him was pretty rough — in restrospect, we never really had enough time with my grandfather after his sobriety.

    Seems like you’ve got a more stressful life, and I hope you can draw strength from your friends (and, of course, your readers).

  25. #25 Matt G
    May 22, 2007

    Really sorry for your loss Mark, I am honored to have been able to see his characteristics through you, and hope that you do well to strive forward in all hardships on your path. All I have are words, but I hope they mean as much to you as writing your blog post did.

  26. #26 Tex
    May 23, 2007

    One of the very few religious ideas that resonates with me is that we don’t really die until all memory of our existance dies out. I think you have gone a long way with this post to keep your father alive a little longer.

  27. #27 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 23, 2007

    Sorry to hear that Mark. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about him at a time that I’m sure it’s difficult.

  28. #28 Kristjan Wager
    May 23, 2007

    I’m so sorry for your and your family’s loss. My condolences.

  29. #29 Jonathan Vos Post
    May 23, 2007

    Deepest sympathy. It was my father who taught me Euclidean geometry, and Astronomy, and so much more.

    Friday, Saturday, this past week, I was at a 35th Reunion of the Caltech Class of 1972. I was supposed to have graduated in ’72, but took 5 years, interrupted by my mother dying of cancer, and my being back in New York for a while, so graduated in 1973.

    I can’t help but think about her date of death, every year, as it was St. Valentine’s Day, and now the wedding anniversary of me and my wife.

    2 years ago I was at the Caltech Alumni Reunion Weekend when my wife came to campus to tell me that she’d just heard that Dad had died. She offered to drive me straight home, but instead I stayed a couple of hours on campus, as I felt somehow safe, protected, and buffered by the memories of the years-past schooldays at this familiar place. I cried on the Caltech campus; various classmates were the first, after my wife, to express sympathies.

    A year later, I managed to forget the reunion, which I knew about, getting confused about which weekend it was, presumably because I was suppressing the memory of hearing about Dad’s death while at a reunion.

    Greeting people one hasn’t seen in many years, at a reunion, feels a little like seeing in a dreeam someone whom it only gradually dawns on one has actually passed away. So the dream reunions are joyful
    at first, and then become eerie or cast into doubt whether one is oneself alive. I wake up after dreams of Dad in a mixed state, glad I could “see” him and “hear” him, and then also am missing him more than ever.

    So for me, wedding anniversary and college reunion also mean anniversary of loss of mother, and anniversary of loss of father.

    I also see how my wife is on the anniversary of the loss of her mother (Thankisgiving), and anniversary of the loss of her father (when she was a teenager).

    Days and nights marked, darkened, ripped outside of time. My father is always dying, my 4 siblings and I are always moving in and out of the gravity of that black hole in spacetime.

    We must live. We can’t go on. We must go on.

  30. #30 Pseudonym
    May 23, 2007

    My condolences to you and your family. Both my parents are alive and well (modulo a knee replacement here and there), so I can really only imagine what you’re going through.

  31. #31 Brian Jaress
    May 23, 2007

    That’s terrible. I’d seen mention of your father, but I didn’t know the story behind his illness.

    My condolences.

  32. #32 Random Math Nerd
    May 23, 2007

    Shitty deal.

  33. #33 Chris' Wills
    May 23, 2007

    My deepest condolences to you and yours.

  34. #34 Tuomo Hämäläinen
    May 23, 2007

    So sorried for you.

    I hope you have strenght to carry your burden and survive it.

  35. #35 nino
    May 23, 2007

    Condolences to you, Mark.

  36. #36 Ørjan Johansen
    May 23, 2007

    My condolences.

  37. #37 .mau.
    May 23, 2007

    My best condolences, Mark.

  38. #38 Massimo Morelli
    May 23, 2007

    My condolences, Mark.

  39. #39 Ofer Ron
    May 23, 2007

    My condolences, Mark.

  40. #40 Dan tdaxp
    May 23, 2007

    I lost my dad this year too. It’s harder than words can possibly say. I will pray for you.

  41. #41 Daniel
    May 23, 2007

    My condolences. And thanks for sharing about your father with us. He seems like a great person, you’re a very lucky son, be proud.

  42. #42 csrster
    May 23, 2007

    My condolences too Mark. My father wasn’t quite as inspirational as yours but I miss him all the same.

  43. #43 Thony C.
    May 23, 2007

    Having lost both of my parents under seperate tragic circumstances I can imagine how you feel and my heart goes out to you.

  44. #44 Dawn
    May 23, 2007

    Mark…my sincerest condolences to you and your family. Your father sounds like he was a wonderful man…and the legacy he left, in you and your siblings’ love for music and math, will keep him alive forever.

  45. #45 Jud
    May 23, 2007

    Yeah, I know Jews don’t drink, but gather yourself, your wife and whoever else in your family you really like, get good and drunk, tell the funniest stories you can think of about your Dad, and laugh until you cry.

    You’ve already done his memory proud – keep doing it.

    Jud Fink (yes, that is my real last name)

  46. #46 TheProbe
    May 23, 2007

    Visiting from Respectful Insolence…

    My deepest condolences to you and your family on your loss. Sounds like your Dad was a fellow I could enjoy having had as a friend. My loss.

  47. #47 Magikent
    May 23, 2007

    Very sorry to hear of your father’s passing.

  48. #48 Julie Stahlhut
    May 23, 2007

    I’m very sorry to hear about your father, Mark. My father died of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease at age 84 in 1996. We didn’t have the close relationship that you and your father clearly had, but I see more and more of his personality in myself every year.

    The same year that he died, one of my best friends lost her own father, largely because of hospital errors. He had already been in very poor health, but there had been some definite and serious problems with his medical care. I know it can take quite a while for a family to get past the anger when something like this happens.

    My thoughts are with you — big e-hugs from a faithful reader.

  49. #49 Giacecco
    May 23, 2007

    Very sorry for your Fink.

  50. #50 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    May 23, 2007

    My condolences. To lose someone close is not nearly understandable until it happens to oneself, and it is still a very personal affair which is different for all.

    As for you, my father’s interest in math and sundry sciences has been quite as defining as my mothers in culture and music, or both in athletics. When my father doesn’t particularly like to swim, my mother is quite the dolphin, and when my mother doesn’t particularly like to run, my father excels in it, and so on – I just had to pick the best pieces and add some of my own. Which, I think, is as good a sentiment as another.

  51. #51 Christian
    May 23, 2007

    My condolences.

  52. #52 Blake Stacey
    May 23, 2007

    Your father raised a good son. He must have been an admirable man.

    I would rather not talk about the deaths in my family (it’s not a pleasant subject, and this is your time, not mine). Yes, there have been a few, and one of them has the same sear of injustice as your father’s, which lets me have at least a little context for what you must be feeling.

    Once when Isaac and I talked about old age, illness, and death, he said it wasn’t so terrible to get sick and old and to die if you’ve been part of life completing itself as a pattern. Even if you don’t make it to old age, it’s still worthwhile, there’s still pleasure in that vision of being part of the pattern of life—especially a pattern expressed in creativity and shared in love.

    — Janet Asimov

  53. #53 Mike S.
    May 23, 2007

    My condolences, and I hope you can take some solace in the fact that every father and mother live on through the good work their childeren do, and it sounds like this is especialy true of your father.

  54. #54 AriSan in New York
    May 23, 2007

    Mark,
    My condolences to you and your family on your father’s passing. You are a good son to your parents, and your moving tribute to your father remembering special occasions impacted you and shaped you is now impacting us, the public. You let your readers recall and post their stories on their fathers, which are nearly equally inspiring and empowering. Your writings lead us to communicate and get in touch with greater human spirits. I thank you for drawing in decent and intelligent community of people to this platform. Take a pride in yourself, which is an extention of your father, and now find some solace knowinf what a positive force you are to us, readers. Take a good care!

    AriSan

  55. #55 Jake Ham
    May 23, 2007

    Your dad sounds like an amazing person and father. Best wishes to you and your family.

    To you I thank for the immense amount of knowledge and information you have given me since I found your blog.

  56. #56 Anthony Honstain
    May 23, 2007

    I wish the best for you and your family.

  57. #57 RavenT
    May 23, 2007

    My condolences, Mark. Thank you for the beautiful tribute to your father.

  58. #58 ordinarygirl
    May 23, 2007

    I’m sorry to hear about your father’s passing. From your post it sounds like he was a great man. The world is a poorer place not having him in it, but richer for all that he influenced.

  59. #59 Doc Bill
    May 23, 2007

    My condolences, Mark.

  60. #60 Canuckistani
    May 23, 2007

    Words are inadequate at times like these. You and your family have my condolences.

  61. #61 Gaurav
    May 23, 2007

    My condolences, Mark.

  62. #62 DCP
    May 23, 2007

    I am deeply sorry for your loss.

    My condolences, Mark.

  63. #63 Carlos
    May 23, 2007

    My condolences, Mark.

  64. #64 rmp
    May 23, 2007

    My condolences Mark. I lost my father a little over 2 years ago. He’s still in my dreams. For what it’s worth, there were several situations where doctors made stupid decisions. I don’t believe they contributed to his death but they sure made me realize that 1) Dr’s make mistakes and 2) every patient needs an advocate.

  65. #65 MattXIV
    May 23, 2007

    You have my condolences, Mark. My father was similarly integral in developing my interests in math, science, and music and I can imagine how much it would hurt to lose him.

  66. #66 frank
    May 23, 2007

    You have my condolences, Mark. Wishing you and your family all the best.

  67. #67 Lisa
    May 23, 2007

    I’m sad for your loss. I hope it is some consolation to think of the joy he must have taken in being able to share his life’s work with you. You were both lucky to have each other.

  68. #68 Matthew L.
    May 23, 2007

    My condolences, Mark.

  69. #69 Ilya
    May 23, 2007

    My condolences.

  70. #70 pough
    May 23, 2007

    Condolences. Sounds like your father was a truly exceptional mind, man and father.

  71. #71 Sai
    May 23, 2007

    Sorry about your loss.

    Thanks for writing. I have a daughter who is a 9th grader. I hope that years later, she will write something like this about me.

  72. #72 Fernando
    May 23, 2007

    Mark, I read your blog daily, but this is the first time I feel compelled to write back.
    Having lost someone close too, I know there’s
    nothing one can say on these moments.

    However, I just wanted to thank you for all the knowledge you share
    with us, with a passion you obviously got from your dad.
    Right now, I can’t help to think of your articles on the slide rule; they are a beautiful example of your relationship with him.

    You have my sincere condolences.

  73. #73 BigHeathenMike
    May 23, 2007

    I can’t even imagine losing my dad at this stage of his or my life. It was great to be able to get a small glimpse into his biography from someone who obviously knew and respected and loved him. My condolences on your loss.

  74. #74 Jonathan Vos Post
    May 23, 2007

    “… During his career, he worked on things ranging from communication satellites, to the Trident and MX missiles, to the power system for the Galileo space probe. I had my disagreements with him over working on the missiles; he believed very strongly in the whole idea of deterrence, that his work would not be used to harm people, but would prevent another war. And it does appear that he was right about that. But I was always prouder of his work on Galileo….”

    I also worked on many missile systems, though it led me to have nightmares about WW III. More importantly, I am very proud of the software work I did on Galileo, but that would have come to nothing but for the brilliant hardware by your father and hundreds of others.

    His generation is the one that got us into space, opened the Solar System to humankind, created the electronic computer, found the shape and function of DNA. That is another reason that I do accept the terminology that your father and mine were of “the greatest generation.”

    My condolences to you are not just for our fathers, but for their generation, so decimated.

    We stand, as Newton put it, on the shoulders of giants.

  75. #75 Binil Thomas
    May 23, 2007

    My deepest condolences and sympathy to you and your family.

  76. #76 steppen wolf
    May 23, 2007

    My condolences, Mark. Take care.

  77. #77 John Ramey
    May 23, 2007

    Mark,

    I know it’s very hard to lose someone that has been an inspiration to you as well as always being there for you; it’s extremely difficult to say all of what you said aloud. I am glad that you were able to put your words into keystrokes and get that out in the open. My condolences to you; as a long time reader of yours and a fellow lover of math, I wish you the best of luck in the next few weeks.

  78. #78 Tim "Fester" Baga
    May 24, 2007

    It’s very hard to loose someone, who was so close to you.
    My condolences, take care of yourself and don’t let this loss take over you and your family.

  79. #79 Jeff Alexander
    May 24, 2007

    Zecher tzadik l’vracha.

  80. #80 Carmen Grayson
    May 24, 2007

    Your father and the “growing good of the world.” From the closing lines of “Middlemarch” –if not apropos your father in the letter, it surely is in the spirit.

    “[T]he effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the humber who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.”

  81. #81 Luna_the_cat
    May 24, 2007

    Mark — I’m so sorry.

    My father died Jan. 15 last year. It feels like being kicked in the head, doesn’t it.

    Your father and mine were of an age, but it was definitely too soon. Both your father and mine should have had years yet.

    You had a lot to be proud of and glad of in him — and he had a lot to be proud of and glad of in you.

  82. #82 Luna_the_cat
    May 24, 2007

    Mark — I’m so sorry.

    My father died Jan. 15 last year. It feels like being kicked in the head, doesn’t it.

    Your father and mine were of an age, but it was definitely too soon. Both your father and mine should have had years yet.

    You had a lot to be proud of and glad of in him — and he had a lot to be proud of and glad of in you.

  83. #83 Luna_the_cat
    May 24, 2007

    Mark — I’m so sorry.

    My father died Jan. 15 last year. It feels like being kicked in the head, doesn’t it.

    Your father and mine were of an age, but it was definitely too soon. Both your father and mine should have had years yet.

    You had a lot to be proud of and glad of in him — and he had a lot to be proud of and glad of in you.

  84. #84 Luna_the_cat
    May 24, 2007

    Mark — I’m so sorry.

    My father died Jan. 15 last year. It feels like being kicked in the head, doesn’t it.

    Your father and mine were of an age, but it was definitely too soon. Both your father and mine should have had years yet.

    You had a lot to be proud of and glad of in him — and he had a lot to be proud of and glad of in you.

  85. #85 Luna_the_cat
    May 24, 2007

    Mark — I’m so sorry.

    My father died Jan. 15 last year. It feels like being kicked in the head, doesn’t it.

    Your father and mine were of an age, but it was definitely too soon. Both your father and mine should

    have had years yet.

    You had a lot to be proud of and glad of in him — and he had a lot to be proud of and glad of in you.

  86. #86 Mr. Gunn
    May 24, 2007

    I only hope I can be as good at inspiring my kids.
    We’ll be thinking of you.

  87. #87 MikeQ
    May 24, 2007

    I’m sorry for both you and your father. I also lost my grandpa to antibiotic resistant staph bacteria.

  88. #88 Dave L
    May 24, 2007

    So sorry to hear the news. My condolences Mark.

  89. #89 Zhaphod
    May 25, 2007

    Mark. My condolences.
    I would like to say here that great fathers produce great kids. And I also cite Richard Feynman’s example here. He paid great tribute to his father and how he helped him to understand the world around him. I hope to be as great a father as yours and Richard’s one day.

  90. #90 Abel Pharmboy
    May 25, 2007

    What a lovely and heartfelt tribute to your father. In H. Jackson Brown’s ‘Life’s Little Instruction Book,’ he said to live so that when your children think of fairness, caring, and integrity, they think of you. You Dad is a great example for us all – my family and I send you and your family our love and sorrow for your great loss.

  91. #91 Brian
    May 25, 2007

    I’m so sorry, Mark.

  92. #92 Brad Barrish
    May 25, 2007

    I too had an incredibly influential father, who I looked up to in a big way. He was my best friend in the entire world. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer shortly after his 60th birthday. He had symptoms for nearly two years that his doctor misdiagnosed. I too will never forgive his doctor. My father passed away on Feb 7, 2007. I was by his side, with the rest of the family. I don’t know anything about you or your father, except for what you expressed. Know that there are others out there that feel the same pain and loss as you do. I hope that you find comfort in that. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  93. #93 ArtK
    May 26, 2007

    My deepest condolences, Mark, to you and your family.

  94. #94 wil
    May 26, 2007

    Mark,
    My sincere condolences on the death of your father. I know that pain, all to well. It never leaves, but over time, it becomes background noise, allowing some semblance of normal functioning to reappear.

    Your entry above is all the eulogy any man could desire. Well done. You were fortunate to have him with you as long as you did, but I still understand the anger at the bungling of his care that resulted in his death prematurely.

    Time is the only salve I have to offer to make the pain fade. I wish you and your family well.

  95. #95 rosko
    May 27, 2007

    It sounds like you had a wonderful and inspirational father, and it is very sad that he had to pass away, especially given the circumstances. Your description definitely shows the great admiration you have for his role in your life, and if he were still around to read it he would surely be proud.

    And Hugo, I totally understand what you mean about doctors–they tend to dismiss anything that they cannot understand. Their education gives them a great deal of information but does not emphasize the continued refinement of ideas the way a scientist’s does.

  96. #96 Tracy W
    May 29, 2007

    I am so sorry to hear of your loss. He sounds like a wonderful man. My sincere condolences.

  97. #97 Noirm Breyfogle
    May 29, 2007

    Sorry to hear of your loss, Mark. Thank God that, as you well know, love transcends death.

  98. #98 Arno
    May 30, 2007

    My sincere condolances. And I wish you all the love and strength you need for you and your family.

  99. #99 cmonkey
    June 1, 2007

    My condolences Mark. He sounded like a great man.

  100. #100 Julia
    June 2, 2007

    *hug*

  101. #101 euka
    July 12, 2007

    Though you won’t probably read this comment, I just wanted to say that I know how deeply sad and hollow you feel.
    My father died in october, and, about nine month from it, I can’t even begin to feel better about it.

    Sincere condoleances, take courage in the love of those you love.

  102. #102 euka
    July 12, 2007

    Though you won’t probably read this comment, I just wanted to say that I know how deeply sad and hollow you feel.
    My father died in october, and, about nine month from it, I can’t even begin to feel better about it.

    Sincere condoleances, take courage in the love of those you love.