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  • Writer's pictureMaria Thacker Goethe, MPH

Remembering Dad on Father’s Day (A Guest Blog Post for VoiceQuilt)

It’s Father’s Day and I miss Dad. I’ve been dreading all the “firsts” since he died but this

one’s definitely one of the hardest. My father, Stephen B. Thacker, MD, MSc, RADM/ASG, retired, USPHS died on February 15, 2013 from Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD), a rare human prion disease which is rapidly progressive and always fatal. He was perfectly fine one day, then started fading on us and suddenly was gone; all in a matter of 4 months. There are so many words that can describe a loss like this…shocking, heart retching, and maddening to name a few.

This first year without my father will be one of the hardest; especially Father’s Day.

Father’s Day is a holiday for celebrating all dads, whether the dad is married, single, a stepfather, or adoptive father – they all help to influence and shape a person. So, I decided to sit down and listen to Dad’s VoiceQuilt; it seemed like a great way to remember him.

Launching a VoiceQuilt was how I was able to collect memories about my father so that my children could know him and the family could always remember him. I listened to several people express love and gratitude towards my father for his generosity, compassion, leadership, humility, and love. We received messages from everywhere…home in Atlanta, Colorado, California, and New Jersey, to overseas in China, Australia, and Zambia. Each story was like a hug from a friend or a hug from my Dad, as stories generated a personal memory with my father. With each story, I’d hear about the many wonderful attributes that made up my father: integrity, empathy, vision, courage, passion, and intelligence – whether that be in science, sports, history or music.

I’m not going to lie. I had tears streaming down my face while listening to the VoiceQuilt. At first it was raw pain, but as I listened I realized these memories are what will sustain me when I need to remember Dad in more detail in a few years; when I need to laugh about something he did; think about how he would approach a problem; or simply, realize he did matter and he is remembered by more than just my family and I.

The VoiceQuilt is more than simple recordings…it is an actual quilt that is hugging me with my Dad’s memories. They celebrate my Dad, what he believed in, and what he did for others. Whenever I hear the messages there may always be tears, but there will also be smiles, love and memories.

I’ve only been missing Dad a short while but know that I will always remember him. It might be frightening at times to remember, but it’s worse if you forget. A father’s impact on one’s life, no matter how insignificant, matters and should be remembered. The memories are what will allow us to heal and grow. Over time the tears will lessen and the smiles will grow; I know that.

It’s Father’s Day and I miss my dad but I remember him. Happy Father’s Day. – See the post at:

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Maria Thacker Goethe, MPH
Maria Thacker Goethe, MPH
Apr 17, 2018


Donna (Wednesday, July 24 13 02:47 am EDT) Hi, I read our post. My dad passed two weeks ago with this horrible disease. So sad. I miss him so much

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