Photo by Jonathan Borba from Pexels

The mark of a person shows through in time of crisis. And we are in a worldwide crisis right now. Those healthcare workers who are sacrificing their own health deserve more than we can probably ever repay. Their families are sacrificing as well as some nurses, doctors, and hospital personnel can’t go home or if they do, have to go rigorous safety measures just to come into their own home.

Even more than that, they are also serving as the emotional support for patients because their families can’t be there in person. I am so grateful they can play that role, and I know the families must feel even more gratitude. They are saviors.

I lost my brother to a blood cancer in December. We were able to be with him when he was put on a respirator. We were at his side when the doctors and hospice helped him make his final life decisions. He was able to stay in the hospital. As horrible as it was to watch him suffer and then to mourn his passing, I am so grateful his cancer took hold when it did. If it had waited three months, it would have been a whole other level of grief. His wife of more than fifty years wouldn’t have been at his side holding his hand when he took his last breath. Or equally disturbing, he might have been sent home without the drugs to help ease him into a place with no pain or discomfort.

Every time I hear a story about a COVID victim dying alone with the family at home, every time I see pictures of nursing staff holding up a phone so the patient can say good-bye, and every single time I watch family members fight tears as they tell their story, I feel their pain. My heart aches for them.

It’s such a confusing time, but as I’ve told my family and friends, I can only control my own actions. They each have to make the decisions that will allow them to sleep at night. Even as I tell them that, I also tell them it’s really not about them. It’s about every one else. It is not the time for selfishness.

This time of slowdown is an opportunity for all of us to examine our lives and how we live. It’s a time to look to our heroes–those people who are often overlooked in our society but who give of themselves and who sacrifice so much to make sure our lives run smoothly, COVID or not.

The medical profession are at the forefront, but so are the teachers juggling and struggling to find ways to keep students engaged, the restaurant servers and delivery folks and grocery store workers, and so many others.

They should serve as our example for how to move forward from here. I thank them all.


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