On Canada’s National Day of Mourning 🇨🇦 fifty fallen camellia petals to honor and remember the fifty health care heroes who have died from COVID-19 this past year one of whom was Diana Law, a wonderful caring and dedicated nurse from Peace Arch Hospital, a daughter, wife, mother and sister. She is the first nurse in British Columbia to die from COVID-19 and the second in Canada. Today’s post is dedicated to her memory and to the memory of all of the heroes whose families are mourning today, as we also take this opportunity to say thank you to all of our frontline heroes who continue to be there for us every single day.
Our beautiful camelias are back and with it my annual cameliaddiction; with a little bouquet of thanks for our healthcare frontline heroes on this Easter Monday. They are very much in our thoughts as our numbers are sadly going in the wrong direction.
I would like to dedicate today’s post to the memory of beautiful 10 year old Aye Myat Thu, who was so cruelly murdered by a military sniper in Myanmar on March 27th. Her story in yesterday’s New York Times under the title, “She Just Fell Down. And Died,” is heartbreaking. Please read it so that her short precious life can be remembered by us all.
On September 22nd last year I posted the centre part of this image on the day that 200,000 American lives were reported to have been so tragically lost to the ravages of COVID-19. Today, one year since the beginning of the pandemic we learn that the number has now reached 511,133. In Brazil it is 246,560; in India 156,418; in the UK 120,580; here in Canada 21,715; and worldwide the number is 2.47 million.
Each one of those lives lost, both young and old, leaves families and friends in mourning; today we mourn with them too. We also think about all of our healthcare and frontline heroes who cared for them all, often the last ones to be by their sides as they took their last breaths. Today is a day once again to say thank you to each and every one of them, for they too are also always in our thoughts.
In a memorial ceremony tonight at the White House President Biden spoke so movingly to the nation, but his words I felt were also to a grieving world:
“While we have been fighting this pandemic for so long we have to resist becoming numb to the sorrow. We have to resist viewing each life as a statistic or blur. We must do so to honor the dead but equally important to care for the living, those loved ones left behind.”
How fortunate we are to have President Biden in the White House at this moment in history.
Today I received my mask from Physicians for Human Rights, which I will now wear whenever I am out to honour my dear colleagues and all of our Health Care Heroes, and as always I thank them all. Although to say thank you never seems quite enough it comes from the heart.
Not long after the pandemic started to ravage the world images and stories began to appear in the media and the press of patients on ventilators and health care heroes in PPE. Two such moments led to these two drawings together with their accompanying descriptions:
April 28th – Drawing in the studio today allowed me to spend a few hours in quet reflection on this National Day Of Mourning, a day that perhaps has never been more meaningful, as we remember and honor those who have lost their lives or been injured from their time in the workplace.
I would particularly like to honor the memory of Dr. Lorna Breen, a New York City emergency room doctor, a true hero, and send heartfelt condolences to her family, colleagues and friends.
The drawing was inspired by a photograph taken by Marco Bertorello in the Covid-19 ward of Maria Pia Hospital in Turin.
May 3rd – When the Science of Medicine meets the Art of Medicine to save lives in the COVID unit at Vancouver General Hospital.
ECMO stands for Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation but could also stand for Ever Compassionate Medical Optimism, thanks to the dedication of our frontline healthcare workers epitomized by the caring nurse-specialist portrayed in the picture.
What better way to wish everyone Merry Christmas on Christmas Day than with nature’s “carpenter”, this beautiful pileated woodpecker captured hard at work in the Pacific Spirit Park this week; and a special thank you on this special day to all of our health care and front line heroes who can never be thanked often enough.
Today over 200,000 Americans have died of Covid-19. How heartbreaking that one of them was 28-year-old Dr. Dr. Adeline Fagan an Ob-Gyn resident in Houston Texas who died on September 19th. My thoughts are with her family, colleagues and friends as I send them my heartfelt condolences. I am also thinking of all my healthcare hero colleagues at this time, particularly our own surgical residents who I know must be as deeply saddened as I am today.
“Even in this darkest of times, there are good people willing to share a piece of themselves for the sake of another,” Adeline’s father Brant has written, and he encourages us all, “to be an Adeline.” I can assure him we will.
The letters for this quote from Virgil displayed in the Memorial Hall of the September 11 Memorial and Museum in New York were forged from remnant World Trade Center steel by blacksmith Tom Joyce.
Seeing the crushed remains of Ladder 3 on our moving visit to the museum in 2015 the sacrifice and bravery of those 343 firefighters of the New York City Fire Department who were lost that day together with an additional 68 emergency workers and the 2566 innocent lives they were trying to save has been a lasting memory.
On this 19th anniversary of that terrible day as we remember them all together with those lost at the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, we now have too many other lives to remember and mourn, and for whom those words of Virgil could also have been written.
Six months ago today on March 11th The Director General of the WHO declared that, “COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic.” On that day there were more than 118,000 cases in 114 countries, and 4,291 people who had lost their lives. Today, September 11th 2020, there are 28,412,026 reported cases and 915,088 deaths worldwide.
The First Responder Heroes of 9/11 and those heroes on United Flight 93, together with the Frontline Heroes and Healthcare Workers of today who have also lost and continue to lose their lives saving their fellow citizens are all in our thoughts on this solemn day.