Saturday, February 5, 2011

My Dad Passed Away

Two weeks ago today, my father passed away.  He fell down a stairway while trying to bring his laundry up the stairs, and hit his head on the landing below.  About four years ago, my dad had a stroke, and so he was on blood thinners, to prevent other strokes.  Because of those blood thinners, surgeons were unable to control the bleeding in his brain, and he was declared brain dead the next day.

It's been a rough two weeks.  My dad had a great influence on me--indeed, he was a tinkerer, and an innovator, and much of that has rubbed off on me.  I sometimes wonder if I should have pursued an Associates in Electronics, or a degree in Electrical Engineering, to follow in his footsteps!  But perhaps, by deciding to become a mathematician, I have followed in his footsteps in a way that neither of us yet understand.

Having said that, despite pursuing pure mathematics, I still have an interest in experimenting with all sorts of things.  Tinkering is in my blood.  I don't think I can help it!

I have written a lot of thoughts about my dad's death.  Those thoughts started with a cynical observation about the health care debate, but had grown to cover all sorts of memories.  I haven't yet decided how much I will put on this blog.

Even before my father passed away, I was contemplating what directions I wanted to go--both with regards to this blog, and with regards to my own life and career.  My father's death postponed somewhat what I planned to write; it has also increased my personal introspection.

Sadly, I won't be able to ask for my dad's advice--I probably wouldn't have anyway, because I'm lousy at asking for advice!--but even if I didn't, I'm sure my dad would have appreciated knowing my thoughts, and I would certainly have liked to talk to my dad about them.

Dad, I'll miss you.  May we meet together again someday!


  1. I am very sorry for your loss. In my experience, mathematician is a more fundamental basis for engineering or science than many disciplines. I am an electrical engineer by degree, and having worked with mathematicians in my line of work (pharmaceutical research), I think you do your father proud having pursued mathematics.

  2. Well, damn, I am sorry to hear that... My sympathies to you and your family.

  3. Thanks for your condolences!

    Sebastian, you're right in that mathematics is fundamental to everything. For many months, I've been trying to figure out what I can do to make money as a mathematician, or even to make money despite being one. Being a "pure" mathematician doesn't help, but whatever I end up doing, it'll likely have a strong mathematical component to addition to the "tinkering" aspect. :-)

  4. Sorry to hear this. My father passed away this past November. He was killed in a car crash. Grieving can be difficult and unpredictable. Peace be with you.