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.
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.
As we approach the end of 2020 and before we welcome in 2021 I thought I would look back at some of the key moments from this past “annus horribilis”. On March 11th I combined this image of our world with the corona virus just as it was all beginning, and wrote:
”Today the WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Our thanks to all the doctors, nurses and healthcare workers here and around the world working so hard day and night for all their patients and communities but especially to BC’s Dr. Bonnie Henry for her compassion and leadership.”
Here we are over ten months later and the pandemic continues but miracle of miracles during this time vaccines have been developed and there is now a light at the end of our long dark tunnel, and of course those thanks continue every single day.
A bouquet for the first day of spring…
…but also to say thank you to all my friends, colleagues, nurses, students, residents and indeed all the health care workers here in British Columbia and around the world who are on the front line working so hard to keep us all safe. They are heroes all and I thank them from the bottom of my heart.
But our hearts are also broken to know of those who are losing their lives every day as I send my condolences to all their grieving families around the world.
To help ease the pain we are all feeling and to give some purpose to my self-isolation my plan now is to post either a new or sometimes older painting each day during these difficult times, inspired by my WordPress friend Kelly who started a Daily Dose of Beauty yesterday on her wonderful CompassAndCamera blog to help us “feel and understand our shared humanity.” Thank you Kelly for inspiring us all with your words and photos.
Stay safe and well everyone.
Today, March 11th 2020, The Director General of the WHO declared that, “COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic.” Our thanks are to all the doctors, nurses and healthcare workers around the world working so hard, day and night, for all of their patients and communities, as we send sympathy to families who have lost their loved ones and wish a full recovery to all those still in hospitals and intensive care units around the world.