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Remembering Dad


June 27, 2021 by Garrett Mitchener

Dear Diego,

Thank you for your letter. I’m glad to hear that you were able to continue learning remotely. At the college where I teach, we had some events in person, but a lot of classes had to be remote. I found out that it’s very challenging to lecture or give a quiz when part of the class is in the room with me and part are viewing me on their computer. We hope to hold all classes in person like normal this fall.

My family were mostly okay during the pandemic. A few people I know died from COVID, but we weren’t close friends. Several of my close friends and family caught COVID, but had mild cases, so I’m very grateful for that.

I told you my Dad died, but from something other than COVID, and we are sad about that. It was hard to visit him in the hospital because of all the safety measures there. Last week was Dad’s birthday and also Father’s Day. It was difficult for me, and I’m kind of numb. My sister found a funny picture of Dad in his pharmacy uniform. That’s how I like to remember him.

I had two doses of a vaccine in April. My arm hurt a little, but other than that it was easy to do. Now I can go most places without wearing a mask. It’s a miracle that our scientists were able to make a vaccine so quickly. It was about a year and a half from the discovery of the virus until hospitals started giving out the vaccine, which is not long at all compared to how long it took us to develop treatments for diseases in the past. Scientists have been studying this kind of virus for years, so they already knew where to start working when this new one became important. That’s why it’s important to study science, even if it’s about something that doesn’t yet have a practical use.

I am disappointed in myself because I lost my patience so often while we were locked down. I was disappointed by leaders who used the pandemic as an occasion to fight each other instead of trying to bring everyone together. I was disappointed by other Americans who refused to do simple things, like wear a mask, to protect each other. But not everything was bad. I also saw doctors and nurses work very hard, and people who cared so deeply for each other.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble.

All the best,
— Garrett Mitchener


Here’s what my sister Allison wrote about Dad to go along with the picture:

I’ve been mindfully bracing for this double whammy of firsts this weekend- my dad’s birthday yesterday and Father’s Day today since he’s died.
I miss him so much. When Susan showed me this picture and we put it out at the funeral, it really touched me. The story goes one of his regular patients came in wearing this visor with the pokey hair and my dad thought it was hilarious. His patient took this pic and then gave it to him later. It’s just so silly, but that’s my dad’s genuine smile, with a bit of his mischievous sparkle. Parkinson’s dimmed my dad in his later years and that was so hard, for him and for us. But flickers of his sparkle were still there… like when I teased him about the crazy mustache he’d grown while ventilated, and he gave me a grin and a wink..
Yesterday I celebrated my dad with a movie marathon of his favorites and ones he took me to see… Indiana Jones and the last crusade and Crockadile Dundee a few of the highlights. “Now that’s a knife” still sings in my ear with my Dad’s voice because it tickled him so much.
I’m so lucky have had such a caring father who helped to encourage my own sparkle and loved his family and friends so much. Happy Father’s Day
June 20, 2021

1 comment »

  1. Howard Rivers says:

    Thanks for sharing such a wonderful memories
    May God continues to bless your family

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