My mentor and friend, Hazel Dicken-Garcia, died last night after a long health struggle.
I haven’t had the words today to fully articulate this loss. I miss her in the way I miss my grandmother; in many ways, Hazel filled that role in my life since Elsie’s passing in 2001. I haven’t been to see her in a few years, as life got in the way of my ability to just jump and go to the Cities. And while I knew she was unwell, the news itself was a bit of a shock.
I will need to spend some time thinking about what I want to say here. She was an amazing teacher, friend, mentor. She was the sort of person who truly invested in her students. Years after I finished my work under her tutelage, I knew I could email or call for advice, a sounding board, or simple reassurance.
And as is the case with all good teachers, her impact resonates not only through my work, but through the work of countless others who remember her teachings and honor her legacy.
I honored her today by doing my job. I submitted a paper today. And a research grant. And I taught a class. I carry on in her name.
But the hole in my heart cannot be filled by another. Goodbye, Hazel.