1 Year Pandemic Anniversary
In a year when, week after week, we had events not previously seen nor experienced, the word unprecedented had diminishing meaning. And yet a full year passed. Now we are in the midst of anniversaries. A Moment To Pause is an invitation to reflect on these times with the benefit of one year of hindsight. Just within this block off days, recall on March 9th the Grand Princess entered SF harbor poised to disembark on our shores an unknown number of people with COVID. March 13th, we screened you before entering patient care buildings and restricted visitors and have done so every day since. March 17th, Bay Area health officers issued a stay-at-home order. Certainly, you are facing anniversaries of poignant moments in your personal life. We all experienced celebrations deferred or cancelled – weddings, birthdays, the joy of holding a new niece, holiday time with others roasting on golden sand. We all experienced loss – time with grandparents or friends outside our bubbles, the opportunity to be with loved ones ill, or dying or who died. The SFUSD is only now opening for elementary level education.
To support your reflection on the year, we invite you spend to time on the Mezzanine level of building 25 where you will find an exhibit of collections and collages created from photographs you sent us. In opening yourself to the images, along with conversations with colleagues, family and friends, perhaps it will support us in our ongoing path to create meaning and find understanding in the events of this past year. Part of my integration involves gratitude for many, including those who asked me to join their care while hospitalized at the General. To close this anniversary edition of AMTP, I will give the final word to one of those patients whose quiet, heartfelt expression of thanks undid me. May you know her thanks is directed to each of you reading this now, and each of your colleagues who gave, each in their own way.
Sitting with a 73-year-old woman on the 19th day of her hospitalization, we talked about her return home later in the day. A woman of deep faith, each previous day she told me how she asked God to care for those who are ill; to care for their loved ones; to support all the staff at the hospital and clinics to do their work. On this last day, she asked me to promise I would thank everyone on campus who helped her and all the others seeking care. She understood it was thousands of people and there was no way for her to thank everyone herself. Then she wept. After a few minutes, through tears, she spoke something quietly. It passed me by in Spanish. Then the interpreter on the phone began to cry. Following moments of silence, her voice breaking with emotion, she interpreted the patient’s quiet words:
“Thank you, God, for making people who care about other people.”
Please share this with your colleagues and co-workers as this remarkable woman intended.