When the pandemic began in March, I didn’t know what to expect at the long-term care facility that I work at. In the 30 plus years that I have been here, I have never witnessed anything like this.
At the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak, family members were not allowed to see their loved ones. Still, it was imperative that the residents spoke to their families. The facility was closed to outsiders which meant that the families were not able to personally meet with their loved ones or communicate with them. It was a difficult situation for all of us because it was chaos as the residents got sick one by one. However, through modern technology such as FaceTime, Zoom, Skype and Facebook, family members were able to speak to the residents. A connection was provided which helped to ease the strain and the loneliness.
One special memory comes to mind of a woman by the name of Mary. She didn’t speak, but she had an incredible smile that lit up a room during the time I was on the Covid-19/PUI unit. She found a special place in my heart. When Mary arrived on the unit she was tired and sick, but on the first day I introduced myself to her, she responded with a weak smile. Each day as her health improved, she would speak with her family through FaceTime. Whenever I appeared in her room to ask if she would like to video chat with her family, she always smiled and nodded yes. She was always excited to talk to her grandson.
As time went on, Mary’s health improved, and I saw it each time that I went to visit her. I believe that the contact with her family gave her the reason to smile each day. In turn, her smile provided hope for me. On the final day that Mary was on the Covid-19/PUI unit, she was sitting up in her wheelchair working on a craft project. I smiled to myself because she was a miracle during this pandemic. I whispered in her ear that “I love you.” She smiled her magic smile, then whispered, “I love you too.”
It was during this time, while interacting with the residents and staff, that I was reminded to enjoy the precious moments in life. During the darkest moments, Mary reminded me that a smile brings hope.
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the Lord of the living. Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart, and wait for the Lord (Psalm 27:13-14).
Denise Lima-Laskiewicz writes from New Jersey.
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