A Digital Footprint / by Deborah Clague

www.visitisleofman.com Tourism website for the tiny island in between larger islands England and Ireland. Temperate climate. Population, less than 85,000. Official languages, English and Manx. Birthplace of Clague surname and thus, line of ancestry that has led to the present day. My father always wanted to travel here and talked about it a lot. Maybe next year. 

www.scootercity.ca Online retailer selling all manner of new and pre-owned mobility scooters and associated equipment. Location, Coquitlam, British Columbia. Google page rank, high. My father had been contemplating the purchase of a new pick-up truck but current circumstances merited researching something more practical on four wheels. The Karma Flare KS343 gets 20 miles on one charge, includes a one year warranty and is currently listed at $2400.00 CDN. It is the Cadillac of scooters. 

www.webmd.com Online resource that people visit when concerned about a possible medical issue. Hypochondriac's home page. Current page open to side effects of morphine (oral), listed hierarchically from common to infrequent to rare. Symptoms classified as severe and "less severe". Of the dozen or so pain medications that my father was prescribed, this one was singled out. Something had triggered the query. My father was not a hypochondriac.  

www.heartandstroke.com One of Canada's largest and most effective health charities. Throughout its history, has donated more than $1.39 BILLION towards research and education, the latter of which now providing insight in the form of a webpage detailing the five signs of stroke.

These are the last websites my father visited. 


I have my own iPad but for some reason, the wifi connection at my parent's house does not like it. Turning on my laptop - and sitting through the 20 second Apple start-up screen which actually feels more like an eternity - is not always practical for the impatient, even though the wifi connects effortlessly every time. My father's iPad had been neglected, sitting unused for weeks and forgotten about amongst the stress of planning a funeral, sorting through Estate matters and trying hard to fill the emptiness with whatever whatever could be used as a distraction. I noticed it one recent afternoon and decided to give it a try. 

My father was technologically challenged and didn't know how to send an e-mail but when the iPad 2 was announced, he gave me money to purchase two of them wishing to use the device and the FaceTime feature he had read so much about to video chat with me across provinces (and occasionally half way around the world). He didn't use it for much else, save for the occasional web search which mostly revolved around travel or cars. After turning his iPad on, and discovering that the wifi connection did work on it, I opened Safari to numb my mind by reading stupid, inane celebrity gossip; Justin Bieber's existence could surely provide a chuckle or two at this time. That's when I noticed all of the open tabs…in sequence, a reading of my father's state of mind prior to his final hospitalization (and eventual death):

There was hope (visitisleofman.com).

There was determination (scootercity.ca).

There was concern (webmd.com).

There was panic (heartandstroke.com).

A dramatic structure left for his final digital footprint, sorely missing the dénouement of peaceful acquiesce.