• hamillwhitney


Let me start this off with a warning - this post is vulnerable, it's emotional, and it's not about having a good laugh (for once).

AND second, by saying - I HATE CORONAVIRUS.

I hate what it's stealing from us. ALL OF US.

I hate what it's done to families, to our world, to our country, to our lives collectively.

I hate the lives it's stolen. The physical and emotional wounds it's left in its tracks.

I hate the fear it's infected the world with.

I hate the celebrations, life events, and milestones it's cancelled and delayed.

I hope it feels pain when our bodies finally kill it off. I hope it burns as it makes its way back to the hell it came from.

I hate the world it's forcing us to live in. I hate social distancing, one way traffic patterns, closures, and quarantines. I hate wearing a mask.

I hate feeling like a traitor for going out in public.

I hate the way it's infesting the radio waves, the television commercials, and every other post or news story on the internet with its poison.


I hate what it is doing to my dad.

One week ago my dad was admitted to the hospital for coronavirus. Within 24 hours he was being sent in an ambulance to LDS Hospital, barely stable enough to be transferred. We didn't know whether he would be put on a ventilator, how long he would be in the ICU, or when we would see him again.

Watching my dad struggle to breath or even speak as he lay there in the hospital bed, only able to whimper to my mom how much he missed her face, was horrifying. It shattered my heart into a million pieces.

There is no question in my mind - this virus is evil.

Fortunately, after many prayers of faith and the work of dedicated nurses and doctors, my dad was transferred out of the ICU today (thank Heaven) and will spend the next few days in the hospital, trying to get his oxygen levels to where he can safely come home.

This week has been nothing short of a hellish nightmare. Not only have we watched my dad suffer in ways we can hardly comprehend, (and he's one of the "lucky" ones) but it's also taken over almost my entire family. One by one, my family has dropped like flies to positive test results. Since we had been with my family the prior weekend (clearly where the spread started), we've been self-quarantining for the past week, despite neither my husband, my kids, or I having any symptoms (thankfully), and it's given me some time to reflect.

Many of life's cliche realizations began surfacing to the forefront of my mind, things like:

Life is too short to care about the little things or live in fear

God + Family are really all that matters

Don't take so many things for granted

Health is a gift...

Things like that.

But what I really started reflecting on was my dad.

How much I loved him. How much I missed him. Our relationship and what I put into it. Most of all I thought of everything he's done for me. As I thought about this more and more, I started making a list to share with him. I wanted to compile a list of 14 cherished life lessons I've received from my father - 1 for each day of our quarantine.

I wanted to share this on here (even though my dad will probably hate that I am - he's one of the most humble people I know and hates praise and recognition).

But I'm sharing it anyway because everyone deserve to know what kind of man my father is.

This virus deserves to know that the life my dad has lived is stronger, more meaningful, and more worth remembering than a n y t h i n g it's done to him and his body.

So here it is - 14 Days of Quarantine & Life Lessons: A Letter to My Dad

1. It's the Journey NOT the Destination

We've had our fair share of adventures, detours, and unexpected events, but most of the adventures I remember vividly are the one where things didn't go according to plan (at all) and we made great memories out of it anyway! Like wading through mosquito infested waters to stay cool after hours of searching for "petroglyphs", picking up some [very] sweaty foreigners on our way back to camp, or exploring Ensenada with(owner, operator, and mayor?) Dale; you taught us to embrace the unexpected, laugh at the situation, and make the best of it...even if it means sleeping in a stranger's house after briefly meeting them in an Idaho gas station at 10 o'clock at night...

2. Fight for What You Love

If there is something worth having, it's worth working for and fighting for. Whether it's the hours you spent working on a project for mom, for one of us, your work, or at times for people you hardly knew, you were happy to do it if it meant making someone happy, relieving a burden, or having the means to do something you love like taking a family trip or buying a new gadget. Anything worth holding onto is worth fighting for and I've seen you fight my whole life to keep doing the things that make you happy.

3. Service is a Privilege

Most of my adolescent memories included you doing something for someone else. You never shirked a responsibility or missed an opportunity to help someone else. You taught us to be joyful about helping others less fortunate than ourselves and to be compassionate and go above and beyond what is asked or required to help someone. Being in a position to help someone else is something Ian and I strive for and want to teach our kids the value of. If I can serve half the number of people you do in various ways, I would be grateful.

4. Do the Right Thing (ALWAYS and Without Exception)

You set the standard of morals and values high and I both respected that and appreciated it. I hated disappointing you guys (still do). I knew messing up wouldn't change your love for me but I also knew you weren't going to compromise your standards for our wrong behavior, no matter what. As hard as that could be at times, I'm grateful for that and still try to keep my standards as high as the ones you taught us to set and not settle for less.

5. Billy Joel Rocks

No further explanation needed.

6. Your Spouse Can Do No Wrong

For years I've admired the respect and adoration you've given to mom. Through the highs and lows, I never once heard you say a bad word about her and always demanded that we do the same. Whenever I'm tempted to get frustrated with Ian or speak badly to him or about him, I think of your example and find a better way to communicate my feelings. Ian thanks you for that.

7. "Up and dressed by 9"

As an adult and parent, I can't imagine how I ever could've slept past 8 am, but as a younger child I am grateful that you always gave us more bang for our buck on the weekends and on vacations by getting us up and going early, occasionally awarding the early risers with the privilege of a Village Inn breakfast.

8. "When You're All Grown Up With $8 Million of Your Own Money..."

You taught us from a young age not just to respect the value of a dollar, but that that dollar was hard earned, usually by you or mom. It helped me to look at the things I had and appreciate them more, knowing that someone else paid the price for them and to be grateful that I got to enjoy it without having to earn it. It was certainly something to think about anytime I felt to complain about what we had or didn't have and how little I contributed to paying for any of those things.

9. There's No Such Thing as the "Good Fairy"

You always taught us to be accountable for our actions (or lack there of). If we were being lazy or left a mess for someone else to clean up, you called us on it. As a mom, I now understand more fully the value of this and notice myself always cleaning as I go and I imagine I have you and mom to thank for that.

10. Be Prepared to Accept the Consequences of Your Actions

You always seemed to hit the nail on the head as far as showing us what natural consequences looked like growing up. Like that toilet paper and wifi are a privilege, not a right, and if you stay up and sneak out late at night then don't expect to come home and sleep all day or for front door to be unlocked. I hope I can teach my kids this concept as well as you did.

11. Life is About Balance

Having fun as a family takes hard work but you always showed us that life is about finding ways to enjoy what really matters and making time to do what you love. Whether it's camping, diving, jeeping, or even forcing your inept 13 year old daughter to ride a dirt bike, the fun is important and worth working for. Work hard, play hard; moderation and balance in all things are principles you've demonstrated all of our lives.

12. Go the Extra Mile

I can't recall a single time I've seen you do a job halfway. When you set your hand to something you always see it through and somehow make it look easy. I'll never forget the time I desperately wanted the same skirt as a friend in my 3rd grade class. I didn't know where she got it but you spent the entire weekend scouring every store at the mall with me trying to find it. I was sad when it was time to go back to mom's house and we still hadn't found it, but I knew you'd left no stone unturned in trying to find it with me. Or so I thought...I was over the moon when you stopped by a few days later, not just with the exact skirt I'd been looking for, but with a shirt and purse to go with it. Maybe you didn't know it, but that meant the world to my 8 year old self and I still tear up when I think about it.

13. See a Need, Fill a Need

You never needed to wait to be asked to do something. If you saw something that needed fixing, or anyone asked you for help, you dropped whatever you were doing and helped, never complaining or putting it off for later.

14.  Family is E V E R Y T H I N G

Ups and downs, good times and bad, nothing will ever get in the way of you being there and showing up for the ones you love. You've instilled in us such strong family values and now you're stuck with us forever! (suckah!) ;)

These are not just lessons I pulled out from the archives of my mind. These are principles that I think about and am grateful for often as an adult and mother. I guess even the hardships and traumas can be redeemed for good in some way. I'm thankful that this experience has given me time to reflect on our family and on you; that it's forced me to truly recognize and appreciate your major part and influence in my life and to take the time to put into words even a fraction of the appreciation I have for you. I love you dad, can't wait to have you home.


♡ - Boat Boat