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Our Three Greatest Fears

I've heard it said that a study was done to catalogue our greatest fears, and that the second greatest fear we have is death, while the greatest fear we have is speaking in public.

Let my experience this past weekend add a little colour to that.  I'd suggest that our modern three greatest fears may well be:

  1. Speaking in public
  2. Death
  3. Loss of connectivity to the internet
This weekend we went down to Pasadena for a memorial for my Mother, who passed away last month.  (While it's imperative for a funeral to occur within a few days of the death, a memorial like this can occur later, to give family and friends a better chance to get together.)

The memorial was held in a church, and the opening words were provided by an Associate Minister.  I was responsible for the opening of the Community Eulogy.  (I write it in caps because that's how it felt.  Imposing.)

I'm not a public speaker.  I'm a typically introverted software developer.  So this wasn't to be an easy thing for me.  While I was wrestling with the way funerals and memorials manage to combine these two all-time favorite pastimes, death and public speaking, Charter Communication suffered an internet blackout for nearly the entire weekend.

Oh.  My.  God.

We were right in the middle of review cycles of my Mom's memorial program and music arrangements.  Staff from the church had been sending email back and forth with us, and they had the wrong phone number for dad.  We sent a correction just before we lost connectivity.  We weren't sure our outgoing email got through.

I was freaking out, thinking I'd broken my dad's computer, and I had precious little time to restore it.  I kept calling Charter every two hours the entire weekend, and the reply I always got was, "We can't help you until the outage that we are aware of in your area has been cleared."  So I really didn't know if the Charter blackout was the only problem, or if there was a problem local to dad's computer.

And how was I going to provide remote tech support to my dad if he can't get online before I go home?  I can't VNC in.  I'd have to walk him through everything blind, on the phone.  "The cable modem is the box with hopefully some green LEDs on it.  See a box like that?  Feel around behind it for a power swich, and if you don't feel that, try to determine which cable is the power cable.  Ready?..."  The prospect of having to do that was terrifying.

Sunday was to be a make-it-or-break-it day.  We were flying back on the last flight that night, after the memorial.

Everything came together.  The flower arrangements arrived where they were supposed to, when they were supposed to.  So did the food and wine.  The music was beautiful.  The memorial would have made Mom proud.  When we got back to Dad's apartment, the internet connection was back up.  Icing on the cake was that I even discovered how to open a safe that Mom had locked, and to which nobody knew the combination.

And the next day was Chinese New Year's.   We'd gotten all that accomplished before the end of the previous year.

Gung Hay Fot Choy!

Phew!

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Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
narilka
Jan. 27th, 2009 12:58 am (UTC)
*hugs*!

Gung Hay Fot Choy!
dblume
Jan. 27th, 2009 02:53 am (UTC)
Thanks, Nari!

Virtual hugs are always welcome. Things are good here, and it's nice to start the new year with all that behind me.
pastilla
Jan. 27th, 2009 01:21 am (UTC)
A difficult job well done.
dblume
Jan. 27th, 2009 02:54 am (UTC)
Thanks. I was told that not everybody in the back heard me, but of those that did, I did just fine. That's a relief.
zannah
Jan. 27th, 2009 01:49 am (UTC)
*hug*
dblume
Jan. 27th, 2009 02:59 am (UTC)
Thanks.

Like I told your sister, it's nice to get all that behind us for the new year. We're off to a fresh start.

Really, we're even past that one-month "you cannot visit your friends' and family's homes" moratorium, since my mom actually passed away just over a month ago. Yay! That's huge! It sucked not being able to go the end-of-the-year dinner, or to anything for a month.
neon_epiphany
Jan. 27th, 2009 04:43 am (UTC)
Long overdue *hugs*
dblume
Jan. 27th, 2009 05:23 pm (UTC)
Thanks!

I'm so glad to see you around. Every once in a while, I'll be notified of activity at flickr, or a new userpic here. And I'll wonder, is her personal blog live yet? Is she writing?

You've teased us with your last post, so I'm hopeful.
halophoenix
Jan. 27th, 2009 05:09 pm (UTC)
Wow! That's remarkable - not just the pressure, but how everything came together. :) Great work!
dblume
Jan. 27th, 2009 05:27 pm (UTC)
Thanks.

You know, I'm feeling pressed for time at work and at home, so I haven't written well, and I haven't written some of the more interesting details, but I figure it's better for me to get at least something out than nothing at all.

But let me assure you: Oh, yes, there was pressure, and Sunday pretty much had to come together perfectly (as it did), or I'd have been a wreck.
sjonsvenson
Jan. 27th, 2009 08:49 pm (UTC)
Your posts brings back memeories form the pre-Web era. How did man survive those dark-webless-ages?

I am not afraid of dead, but publick speaking ranks number one as well.
dblume
Jan. 27th, 2009 10:03 pm (UTC)
I know. How did we get along in those days?

I agree with you about death. It's degenerative diseases, loss of control and pain that I'm afraid of.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )