Friday, March 11th is the two-year anniversary of the World Health Organization’s declaration of a worldwide pandemic for COVID-19, and the National Day of Observance to commemorate those who have died due to the virus.
The last two years have created so many anniversaries of days that we will always remember. For instance, I will never forget the day in March 2020 when the first person in Canada died of COVID at a long-term care home in North Vancouver; or the day that the international borders were closed; or the day that schools were closed.
Of course, we all have our own personal memories and anniversaries – we remember the day that someone we loved tested positive for COVID, the day we cancelled a long-anticipated family visit, the day that a friend lost their job, the day that we realized that the world had truly irrevocably changed.
And, also, our happier memories – the best for me was the day when the first person in BC, a care aide from MSJ, received a COVID vaccine. I also remember all the days when services were under pressure – be that acute or long-term care – and so many people from across the organization jumped in and volunteered to help, “running towards the problem” rather than away from it, as would be completely understandable.
So I’ve been thinking about how to mark this anniversary on Friday. Of course, it’s just a day, and like most of us, I’ll be working. We’ve got so much to do, caring for the patients and residents who need us today, whilst also doing our part as Providence to create the post-pandemic world that we want to live in.
But personally, I’m also going to find a few minutes for reflection on March 11th, 2022. Firstly, of course I will remember all the people who have died of this pernicious virus. I will also remember how grateful I am to live here in BC, a place with great health care and good access to vaccines – when so many people across the world have still not had the opportunity to be vaccinated.
Thirdly, I want to spend time thinking about what I have learnt, and how I have grown over the last two years. And finally, I’m going to think with gratitude about all the amazing people that I have been so lucky to work with throughout this pandemic – colleagues from across Providence who have inspired me, helped me and (on occasions when I really needed it) made me laugh. I often talk about the Ram Dass quote “We’re all just walking each other home”, and I know who has walked me home over the last two years. Some of these people may not have realized how much they helped me! So, I’m going to make sure that on Friday I tell some of them about the impact that they had on me.
I hope that you too have the opportunity to reflect this Friday. I hope that you find time to grieve your losses, both big and small – for we have all experienced loss through this pandemic, whether that’s bereavement, disconnection from family and friends, or career or education disruption. But I also hope that you remember what you have personally done throughout the pandemic, and that you take the time to feel proud of this. So many Providence people have ran towards the problem in the last two years, as have inspirational people from across the world. As we continue to walk into an unknown future – and certainly globally this pandemic is far from over – I believe that we will continue to take inspiration from how the last two years have shown the best of humanity.