Reflections of 2020

February 12, 2021 / By admin / No Comments

By: Rosanne Mondrone, Director of Community Relations at Mary Wade

“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of the intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find beauty in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know that one life has breathed easier because you lived here. This is to have succeeded.”                       Ralph Waldo Emerson.

 Recently while driving through the beautiful, scenic Connecticut countryside with blue skies dabbled with white puffy clouds and bare trees swaying in the wind, I began to reflect on the past year. As my mind wandered back to the late winter, I had no idea what lied ahead. I was still reeling high on the promise of a new year and all the wonderful opportunities it brings. Suddenly, without warning life changed. This was not the opportunity I was anticipating. As I began to think about all we have endured, I realized, I couldn’t see too clearly. I remember bits and pieces of moments. Small fractions of time came to me but for the most part I felt numb. The memories I have of 2020 are scary, frightening and sad.

As the year went on the team worked tirelessly to overcome the challenges in front of them. Those challenges changed with time. We learned to survive the virus and keep people safe. Many recovered fully. We educated everyone constantly and tested weekly. We gave vaccines and screened prospective residents diligently to make sure we kept everyone from potential threats. We tried to fill the hearts of our residents with hope and love in the midst of severe isolation. What didn’t change was the level of stress and exhaustion and the isolation we ourselves felt.

When I thought the worst was behind us, a phone call in early December changed my life and perspective quickly. My brother Jack was being life starred to Hartford Hospital. He had Covid-19 and severe asthma. He was in critical condition and they couldn’t give us much hope. He had been ill for over eight days and had all the medications they could give but it wasn’t enough. I couldn’t allow myself the thought that we could lose him. He is a wonderful father and husband, a good friend, uncle and brother. Life would not be the same without Jack. While in the ICU the doctors consulted on several treatment options and decided to try blood plasma filled with antibodies from people who had Covid-19. I heard about this from our social worker Molly who had been donating her blood with the hope of saving lives. It was a miracle. Within 24 hours he started to respond. Within 5 days he was home with his family, healing.

Living in a world of intense pressure and stress we don’t often afford ourselves the time to see how far we’ve come. We are too busy maintaining. We become robots, protecting our feelings

so they don’t destroy us. We still have many hurdles to get through as a nation and a healthcare community. But in this moment, I saw all that had been done. I knew Jack wouldn’t have survived in the spring if he contacted the virus. I was able to reflect on the progress we’ve made, the medications and the new treatments we know are successful as well as the many lives that have been saved. I felt tremendous gratitude and gratitude is hope that nurtures the soul.

Now, I hear the voices of the residents passing by my office to attend the Day Center as they cheerfully yell, “Hi, Hon! Have a good day.” My heart is warmed. We still have battles to overcome but the bleak mid-winter will come to an end and spring will arrive. The earth will awake from its deep sleep. The air will get warmer, trees will bloom and so will “garden patches.” I wondered if Emerson wrote these words during another pandemic. Each and every one of us can find solitude in some part of his reflections and for my team of dedicated, healthcare professionals I would claim for them “to know that one life has breathed easier because you lived here. This is to have succeeded!”



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