My father died last week.
I have sometimes seen academics sighing about family members who don't understand what they do. My dad always seemed to get it, and not because he was also an academic; he was raised on a farm and spent most of his working life selling agricultural equipment. But he and my mom sacrificed so I could go to the liberal arts college I wanted, and cheered me on throughout grad school. He was one of the few people in the world who have actually read my dissertation. He never expressed disappointment with my various part-time and temporary jobs, only sympathy and support. He was thrilled when I got my tenure-track job offer.
Dad was not always easy to get along with; he could be stubborn and easily angered, and he grew more conservative as he grew older. But I will always be glad of his unstinting support. I'm sorry I never got to show him around my college campus, and I'm sorry he'll never be able to see my book, should I manage to get it published.
This has been a hard few weeks; I'm not planning on further posts until sometime in January.