By Lawrence Pfeil, Jr.
Last night New York City marked the anniversary of the first reported COVID-19 death one year ago in breath taking tributes to the more than 30,000 residents lost so far to the pandemic.
Hundreds of candles were lit around the Lincoln Center fountain on the westside of the city.
On the eastside, images of lives lost were projected on to the Brooklyn Bridge to memorialize and remember.
Two weeks after the first covid-19 death on March 14th, New York City would be “the epicenter of coronavirus pandemic;” and two days later it would awaken to the USNS Comfort hospital ship docking on the Hudson; a field hospital being built in Central Park; and healthcare workers from across the country coming in to save our city.
That was also the night we stopped what we were doing at 7pm, and started going outside or leaning out our windows and clapping for them as a collective way to show our appreciation for what they were doing and what they were going through… for us. But the fact is unless you were there, unless you were inside with them, which because of covid restrictions it simply wasn’t allowed, no one really knew or what it was actually like for them. We couldn’t walk a day in their masks.
Marking the first anniversary of the coronavirus pandemic comes the extraordinary, Dear Nurses: A Short Documentary. Produced by DearWorld.org in partnership with the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, AACN, the film tells the stories of 39 nurses from COVID-19 units across the state of Louisiana. From their website,
You washed their faces and read their eyes.
Looks always fell somewhere between scared and courageous, you reported. When wheelchairs squeak and heels click, you serve a common goal: To heal people.
But 2020 didn’t see a lot of healing. The stories of people who come into the ICU – aka Covidland? They rarely leave, you say.
But you persist, because you’re essential AF. Because, “I am here for you” is how you operate, how you live and how you love. You read your patient’s get well cards from strangers, friends–Oh Dinnerplate, he mouthed.
For that, we yearn for a time in the not-too-distance future where you can eat bread pudding with your patients.
Whether it was making signs, singing songs, sending lifesaver candies or delivering free pizza, we know we can’t repay you for your service.
You’ve got every right to be tired, too.
“We’re going to be ok”, you say.
One day soon, we’ll be able see COVID from a 3,000 footview — fewer hallway sprints, fewer tears and fewer facetime goodbyes.
Until then, thank you for your stories.
Written by RX Fogarty
Discover all of the stories behind their masks at Nurses.DearWorld.org
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and on Instagram @dearworld
“Dear Nurses” photo credit: DearWorld.org / Daymon Gardner.