The grief loved ones feel is life-changing

Mallory Dunlap thought her father was getting better. 

Earlier in the week, on that Tuesday in November, he had started feeling sick. Her mother, Julie Wallace, was wearing a face of constant concern, and so Mallory, who was 17, was worried, too, although she tried to hide it from her little sister, Camille. Suddenly, everyone in the house was wearing masks and the girls were told to stay away from their father, who was quarantined upstairs.

By Saturday, Mallory sensed that her mother was feeling a bit relieved. There was a lightness in her voice. Her face had relaxed, and sometimes she smiled. So, Mallory was relieved, too.

Even as her parents left that day for their trip to urgent care, Mallory wasn’t too worried. Their mother had insisted that he go, and he had relented. Mallory stayed behind with Camille as her father walked on his own to the car.

How sick could he be?

'It was all on the line'

He was a big and strong man, Lewis Dunlap. He was 51, six-feet-three and 280 pounds of power and might with a laugh worthy of his stature. Even his job was big: He ran a garage in Elyria, Ohio, that had been in his family for 74 years, fixing semis. He’d been busier than ever during the pandemic. Trucks needed to transport, and he was the point man to keep them moving.

Devastating: What life is like for Julie, Mallory and Camille now 

Lewis had been Mallory’s softball coach for the last eight years, and the man she’d wrapped around her finger since the day she was born. Fatherhood was his calling, Julie says. “From the moment Lew found out I was pregnant, he was all in. After Mallory was born, he was an insane dad the minute we got home.” 

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