[Note, this piece was written on January 23, 2021, just four hours before Myron Chartier, father of Tim Chartier died.]
With each vaccination, the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel grows brighter. We might be brave enough to look to that light. But, to lean on Amanda Gorman’s penetrating words, we must be brave enough to be the light in this dark journey.
As my fellow American, be my light as my tunnel is very dark. My father lies in a bed with labored breathing. He is dying, having tested positive for COVID-19 on his 83rd birthday – the day before he was to receive his first dose of the vaccine.
I cannot see my father or hold his hand as he dies a mile away and a world apart. My story isn’t unique. We know this. The news is filled with family after family mourning losses. As President Biden said, we are in a national emergency. Our journey through the pandemic is collective. COVID-19, our national foe, only strengthens when we succumb to our fatigue of this war.
The day before the inauguration, the death of over 400,000 fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, partners, friends, mentors, and leaders were remembered at the reflecting pool at our nation’s capital. We must remember these deaths to heal. We must heal to be strong. We must be strong to win the war.
My father will take his last breath in coming days, possibly even today. My father will not survive this pandemic. So please, be the light in this tunnel. Social distance. Wash your hands. Wear a mask. It takes we the people of the United States. Our actions in this time will help form a more perfect Union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. And, as Amanda Gorman recited, “We move to what shall be, a country that is bruised, but whole. Benevolent, but bold. Fierce and free.” Be the light. This hill we climb is steep. War will leave us battered and bruised. Yet, we can emerge beautiful.
23 Replies to “Be the light in the pandemic war”
Dear Tim, I am deeply saddened by news of your father’s passing. He must have been a wonderful person to have a son like you. The loss of one’s father is a terrible grief that I am familiar with, and at this hard time I wish you and your familly strength, and peace in the knowledge that he is also at peace. Please accept my deepest condolences. Vikram
Dear Tim, we share your heartbreak, and hope that our sympathy may ease some of the heavy grief which you and your mother are bearing. We will continue to heed your plea to do what each and every one of us must do — protect one another, through small and simple things like hand-washing, mask-wearing, and social-distancing. A big, big remote hug and love to you and your family, whom you honor through thought, word, and deed. With greatest sympathy, Jane
Oh Tim. Thank you for this beautiful piece. I am so sorry for your loss. Thinking of you and your family.
Thanks so much Tim for this wonderful tribute and exhortation. Through the tears, prisms of light. Shaw
Tim, today I was saddened to hear about your dad passing. Your post reminds me of the sobering realities of this pandemic and the distance it creates between us when we so desperately want to be together. There is nothing that really bridges this gap, so we are left hanging and unsettled. Know that I am thinking about you, Tanya, your mom, and your kids today and praying for comfort and the human-divine connection that is needed. Peace my friend. -Scott
I’m so saddened to hear of your father’s – my very first seminary professor’s – passing. Myron was an incredible human being. As the only African American in my class, he and your mo, Jan were a light to me. As you and your sister came along into their lives , that light they gave to me and others became brighter. Thank you for sharing him with us.
Oh, Tim. I have so many cherished memories of your family back when I was in seminary. I am so sorry that Covid has taken yet another good, loving and loved soul. You, your mom, your sister and your family are in my heart and prayers. Your dad and mom were so kind and welcoming to me when I was a scared-to-death junior in 1978. Their encouragement and welcome blessed my seminary years and my life. Peace and comfort to all of you.
Oh, Tim, my deepest condolences to you and your family. I cannot imagine a more perfect tribute to your love for your father or the ethical imperative we al must respond to. Thank you.
Dear Tim, Mel and Family;
Words cannot express the loss you are having right now. Sending you ONLY good thoughts and prayers!! I know this might not be the same but, I lost both of my parents 11 weeks apart in 2008, both due to Cancer. I still feel the loss 24/7, even though its been over 13years. I’m not going to say that you will feel the loss as time goes on, lessening, but I hope it will be not as acute. G-D Bless you and yours during these horrific times. Keep safe!!
Tim, your words are so very beautiful and inspirational at such a difficult time. I’m deeply sorry for your loss. Sending my deepest condolences to you and your family.
I so appreciate your words during this time. I rarely respond to blog posts, but I just couldn’t resist. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts as they will inspire and heal so many that read them. They definitely did that for me. So sorry to hear about your father and pray that as the nation heals you and your family are taking time to heal and care for yourselves as well.
Tim I am so very sorry for your loss. I went to Eastern with your sister so my heart ❤️ is breaking for you both. Memory Eternal and blessings to you and your family during this difficult time of loss.
I am so sorry for your loss Tim and that covid-19 was the cause. May his memory be a blessing to you and your family. I hope you can gather together in some fashion with your family to celebrate his life, I know in covid times that is difficult as we are still waiting to hold the larger memorial for my father who passed away from a heart attack in April.
Tim, thank you for sharing such a heartfelt and moving piece in your time of grief and sadness. I hear your words and will continue to do our share. Your dad, your family and you will be in my thoughts.
Thank you Tim for your thoughtful, heartfelt words. Your dad and mom were such a support during my time in seminary. Jo Ann and I appreciated their friendship then and the many years after. Please pass along our thoughts and prayers to your mom and sister and your whole family.
My friend. My heart, thoughts, and prayers are with you and your family. The hill is indeed steep, but you are not climbing it alone. I’m only an email or phone call (not a Zoom – wink) away.
My heart breaks for you. I too lost my father and I still miss him to this day-over 11 years later. The difference is that I didn’t lose him to a virus. I was able to be by his side in his final days. I am so grateful for your wise words and your strength. You, Tanya, your children and your extended family are in my thoughts and prayers. With the deepest of sympathies, Ann Marie
Tim, we were privileged to get to know your dad after he and your mom moved to Davidson. Holding you all in the light.
Tim, thank you for sharing this beautiful piece and being unapologetically vulnerable about your feelings. I was deeply saddened to hear about your dad and though you were not physically with him when he passed, I’m sure he was filled with all the love you had for him. I am praying that you and our family are clothed with the strength to get through this tough time. I also stand behind this call to action for all of us to be steadfast in battling this pandemic. It is possible and the light is there at the end of this tunnel.
Tim, my heart is with you.
I am so very sorry for your loss!
Blessings to all. Wonderful people.
Tim, Mel contacted me yesterday to share the sad news. I am so sad for you, your Mom and Mel. What a sad ending to a life well lived. You have written thoughts from a pained heart. I am so glad that your folks moved to the area, to be close to your family, and especially to help spoil his grandkids! I do not know the pain your family feels, but I do have so many fond memories of your Dad, and the part he played in my life at various points. I still remember vividly when Mel came to America and suddenly your Mom, who hadn’t been able to conceive, is expecting! I am so happy that you had the parents who supported you to develop your own gifts and skills and grow into the man you have become. Nothing can ready us for the pain as you all have had to experience. May the grace and peace of God comfort you all through this journey through the dark valley of the shadow of death. Thinking of you all in these tough times!