My Dad & Email

You’ve Got Mail

I keep having these dreams where I am working at LLNL and my dad is there. He dials my extension and asks me to come up, and we talk about life and catch up. Then I wake up.

These dreams are haunting. I awake feeling this deep ache in my stomach. It’s long after coffee and getting started on my day that I start to shake that haunted feeling. I am not sure if haunted is the right word, what I am trying to describe is an awareness of pain and loss that I have dealt with, but I know is not right. This is not how it’s supposed to be.

The dreams are very accurate. My dad and I used to catch up in his office very often. We both worked in the same building, just a floor above mine, and in the same department, so it made sense. I miss those times so much.

In my dreams it feels so real! Dreams might be mingled with real memories in a vivid stew of unconsciousness. All the details are right, down to smell, the “feel” of his office, and the joy I had in sharing news about my wife and kids. Sometimes I would asking a programming question and spend time working through a place I was stuck. Other times he would go on and on about how the batching worked on the clusters. I both love and hate it. Love it when it’s happening, hate it when it’s over.

I recently created a mailbox that I was sure was what my dad used for email for my mom and him. I was right. I don’t get much there, mostly spam. But for some reason I love the spam. It’s guitar and theology related, and it feels, for a micro moment, that he is alive. I see his name in the greeting and it’s attached to something he loved.

I miss my parents so much, especially during times when I long for support and encouragement. It’s so hard to find those things these days, which deepens the longing even more.

I’ll keep checking email and having dreams until one day when all that is broken and wrong is undone.

C and my Dad


This week as I am going through the Jr. Penetration Tester course on INE, we are covering programming in C++. This is leading up to a C++-assisted exploitation, the next section is much the same but using Python. Oh man, I am reminded of why I never got deep into C, despite my father having years and years of experience with it. It’s not C, it’s C++, but going through this course is really making me miss my dad. He passed away this year, exactly 2 years to the day from when my mom passed away. Tech and programming has always been a connection my dad and I have shared.

The Sabbatical has been both good and really rough. This time away from work has freed up headspace for me to really process a lot of stuff and deal with some roadblocks head on. I am so thankful for the company I work for and the care and attention they put into our happiness as employees.

Even though it’s rough going through this, it’s bringing up some good memories. I really wish my dad could see me embracing coding more these days. Cybersecurity is proving to be an incredible challenge that is a lot of fun. I wish I had gotten into this a long time ago. Dad would be proud.

Dad’s LLNL Page

I added a section to my father’s memorial site that talks about his time at LLNL. The lab has an internal newsletter and the content of this page was provided by the article they will be running in the newsletter, including several memories from co-workers spanning the 45+ years he worked at LLNL.

SG Special

My father left all his guitars to me. All 36 of them. I spent a few days going through them all and cleaning them up and documenting them. While they are all very nice, with some of them being extremely nice, there is one that stands out. That’s the 1961 Gibson SG Special.

This guitar is special to me. My dad used to take it out when I was very young and play it for me. His kick around guitars were a 12 string and a 6 string classical, but on rare occasions the Gibson would come out, and I always love it when that happened. He told that one day he would give it to me but the he was not sure when. All through my life I would borrow it to play for special occasions, I love this guitar.

It’s bittersweet to own it now. I rather just borrow it when I want it. It has a good home with me and my hope is that I’ll get to pass it on to one of my kids.

AKA Papa

I created a memorial website for my dad. You can visit that site here. ( We are collecting stories and memories about my dad, so if you have one, please consider sharing.

Here is my my post that doubles as the site’s about page.

Dad at LLNL (Building 113) – 1970’s


Today was a life changing day. In January of 2019 my mother passed away. Today my father suddenly and unexpectedly passed away, just two short years after my mom. I have never liked January, it’s the let down after Christmas. It’s the Monday of the year.

The feeling right now, aside from the loss and sadness, is a profound disconnect from who I am. A very large part of my identity was being a son. I was close to my parents in youth, into adulthood and deep into the years of being a parent myself. I feel like a branch disconnected from a tree. I am not sure how else to describe it. It’s loneliness and bewilderment rolled into one large and overbearing monster of a feeling.

I no longer have that connection to my past. Who I am is now changed. The me that was brought out by them is no more. It can’t be. Not without them. And silly things, like being able to call or text them for a detail from my childhood is gone. I am disconnected from that information and from that vivid and wonderful world of memories that sentimental people like me enjoy visiting. I don’t like this, I want to pretend it’s not real. That’s not possible though, that’s why I am writing this post now. As soon as my head hits the pillow, the floodgates open and it’s almost too much.

All that being said, I feel I am able to handle this. In fact my worries and my hurt center not around what I’ll miss about my dad but squarely on how my siblings and my kids are affected by the events of today. In our world, my mother and father were very close to us. This loss is huge. The future and how this plays out for the years to come is very much unknown.

You know, when I mentioned my identity before, how a large part of it was in being son, it’s true. I am feeling this deeply and it’s scary. Though in a much more real and eternal sense I still retain a sonship. It’s different, and it feels different, but without this knowledge and conviction, I don’t know how I would be okay. And I am okay. Some of my kids and family are not okay today, but they will be. Just as it was with my mother’s passing. There is healing that comes with time and life that comes from each other.

It’s cliche, but don’t forget to embrace your family and friends. Don’t take for granted the moments you have right now. My dad’s last post on Facebook was sharing a photo of kittens playing. It’s a cute share. I saw his last few shares and thought, “heh, dad and these silly posts”. I am going to miss those.