Last night I received the phone call that another of the mentors in my life, Joe as mentioned below, had died. Back when he was first put on Hospice I had written but not posted:
Just spoke my long distance to another of my life’s mentors. Unfortunately he was heavily medicated and in hospice.
I have people tell me that the friends you make and keep, help define you. I would add to that phrase that those under whom you received mentorship helped make you.
I was also told that as you entered your fifties that you should keep a somber suit on the ready, as those who mentored you will gradually see their lives end.
Some of those who have mentored me are in fine fettle, like my father and my ham radio friends, so their tributes wait for another day.
Some, like CWO4 Joe H, who had major influences on my development are ill as I write. Joe is one I just called.
Others like both my grandfathers – Sig and Spike – and my graduate school tutor Dr Norman Powell have been gone for some years.
Others who worked with me in important but less expansively in scope, have also departed.
My flying buddy Rick died after a hospice period just a few weeks ago.
My (West) German police buddy Gerhard died early from a brain tumor. As did my British colleague and study buddy John C, who expired bicycling from an brain aneurysm cycling in the Lake District.
Throughout our lives we learn from others. Some passively but the best learning is more actively in a mentored relationship.
Often members of one’s family play a major role, and in my case I must thank my father for much of the drive and character he imparted on me. Truly a life-long mentor.
From these other mentors I learned things counterintelligence, systems theory, photography, working with tools, philosophy, much about the human condition, how to be at peace with adversity, and more. Mentors every last one.
The worry is not that their time has finished and that they are now not an active part of my life, but that the worry is “am I mentor enough to others to have been worthy of their tutorage?”
In ham radio I am not so very certain if I have. While I’ve encouraged a few people to pursue their hobby the feeling that one is an actual mentor (“Elmer” in ham-speak) eludes. This blog is a stop-gap at best.
Time for some personal deep thinking.