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Jim Parker, 68: The Beatles' 'Blackbird'

Jim Parker
Courtesy of Jill Zamostny
Jim Parker

In March 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Two years later, more than a million people have died in the United States from the disease. To put a face on this number and pay respect to the departed, NPR asked our audience to share songs that reminded them of a loved one lost to COVID-19. What follows are individual stories of those who have passed, those mourning them and the songs that continue to unite them.

My dad was a big lover of music. He would always share that, when he was younger, he either wanted to be a professional baseball player or a rock star. He loved The Beatles, and "Blackbird" was actually the song that my dad and I danced to at my wedding. I have had health challenges growing up — I use a wheelchair — so my parents had a little more stress and difficulty, I think, than most parents. He did everything in his power so that I could be independent, and I had the same opportunities that my sister had. He never treated us any differently from each other. He always supported us in every way, and I feel that's what that song signifies. —Jill Zamostny, daughter

He was the center of our family, so there's no better tribute, really. ... I think when he passed away, the adjective we received a lot from family and friends was his gentleness. He was just such a gentle, kind soul — he truly was. I think life is moving on for people, as it should, but I think people forget there have been over a million deaths. Let's not forget that. —Jessica Moreland, daughter

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