A friend of mine has passed on to his eternal reward and is now dancing on streets of gold after a victorious fight with an enemy. Dan fought a noble fight against an enemy named cancer. In December of 2007, after going to the doctor about why he felt so poorly (he and his wife were going on a cruise soon), the diagnosis ended with him hearing that he had stage four Melanoma and was given six months to live. The six months turned to two years. Dan often said, “What a gift to be able to prepare my goodbyes to my wife, family, and loved ones!” Always the one to cheer others, he left a legacy of how to live life to the fullest and prioritize it.
While I wish I could write a tribute to him (a public school technology blog, remember!), I have spent the late afternoon reading his blog as a way for me to remember his life and his gift of himself to those around him. As I read, I was overwhelmed with what technology has left me: his blogging is letting me visit him as if he were right here saying, “Hey! Look Above!” What a gift to leave his family a blog as a reminder of who Dr. Dan was! Although I could write much more in regards to him, one tribute that I’d like to acknowledge is how he used technology to keep his memories alive for his family.
I also read the links to his daughters’ blogs which made me think of the heritage for the future generations to read about this amazing family. Just the other night my daughter asked me, “Dad, if you could travel back to ANY time in history, what would it be?” My first response, even before contemplating, was, “I’d go back to meet my dad.” He died when I was 18 months old and I have no memory of him. I have some pictures, but no letters, no personal thoughts, or anything that gives me a snapshot of him. I have heard nothing but praise from those who knew him, but I only have their words about dad to go by. Oh, if I could have a blog to read that my father had left behind like Dan’s — I could get a snapshot of his thinking, his personality, his being! All I have is a picture to look at. I’m thankful to know he was considered a good and ethical man with the highest of character. Dan’s grandchildren will have grandpa with him for many generations.
Consider what legacy that you can leave and how to give the gift of yourself to your family’s future generations. Don’t only think of technology as a school based purpose, but also as a personal one. I think of one movie making workshop I gave, and for one participant’s project, he chose to film his grandmother. The house that she raised her children was soon to be torn down, and realizing the importance of capturing this, he sat grandma on the steps of the boarded up house, set up the camera on a tripod, and filmed her talking about her memories. He rendered the video, put these on DVD’s, and gave them to the extended family as presents. She is gone now, and look how her legacy continues through technology!
Bye, Dan. Thanks for the gift of your life.
And now, if you excuse me, I’m going back to read the posts for 2009.
If you wish to read Dan’s blog, please let me know.