Vernon rocker Darby Mills urges public to take COVID seriously after father dies just 5 days after diagnosis

Gone in just five days

Vernon's scream queen, Darby Mills, is urging the public to take the pandemic seriously after the death of her father from COVID-19.

The Canadian rock legend, who fronted '80s hit-makers Headpins and reimagined her career recently with the Darby Mills Project, says the pandemic, her father's passing, and her inability to work because of COVID restrictions has all been "overwhelming."

Stanley Gordon Mills died Jan. 14 – just five days after being diagnosed with the virus.

He was a long-term care patient at Noric House in Vernon and had just turned 90 earlier this month.

"Dad was a healthy man with the exception of his brain malfunctioning," Mills said Wednesday.

He had previously been diagnosed with dementia, and Mills said it was hard to "lose him in March with the lockdown and his dementia, and lose him again on Thursday.

"It was only five days from the time he was tested to him being gone..."

Mills is using her loss to urge the public to follow public health orders.

"I really think if everybody just put on a mask and followed the regulations (we'd be alright) ... We need to focus that this is really happening," she said.

Sadly, Mills didn't get to be there in her father's final hours.

She said family members would have had to be fully masked and suited up, and that with her father's dementia, she didn't want to scare him.

"(I) was on the phone, while a nurse held it to his ear. I tried to think of the right words to say, but I fear that I failed miserably," Mills posted on her Facebook page.

"(It had) been 11 months since I'd seen or held him. By the middle of summer and the isolation from outside guests, his memory had faded so much he only knew me as the call that came every night at 6:15.

"I on more than one occasion thought I should have fought harder to get into the care home to see him. To have held him one more time, but it was my turn to keep him safe, the best I knew how. I didn't want to be the one that brought this oh so real virus into his home.

"I do feel anger to think of how many could have been safe, if we'd have all taken this seriously from the start."

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