“The spirit of butterflies and the spirit of our loved ones fly among us,” said one of the speakers at the ceremony.
Suddenly the white boxes were opened and 200 butterflies took flight.
The ceremony marks a rare moment for these frontline workers to take a break. With COVID-19 numbers dropping in many parts of the country, they are using this moment to mourn all the lives lost. Some struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder and other anxieties.
Part of this healing is this ceremony.
“This ceremony is something that we have never done before,” said the same speaker. “But it seems appropriate to mark the end, hopefully, of an unprecedented year. When you work in the healthcare industry, you are familiar with loss. But the suffering experienced by families, friends and healthcare professionals last year was beyond anything we could have imagined. “
Among those family members who return to say thank you is Patty Trejo, whose husband Joseph passed away in March.
“He talked about how he viewed the stress on nurses and doctors,” Trejo told ABC News’s Alex Stone on the ABC Audio “Perspective” podcast. “He was admitted at 10:30 am. He said around 2 p.m. the hallways were full of patients. And his heart was melting. He said, ‘I feel so bad for the families, the nurses and the doctors,’ not just the doctors, he said just the staff in general, right now. “
Her husband was in the hospital during the height of Providence St. Jude in February when the hospital was overflowing.
Over the past year, among those who have come were Rick Moran and his wife Georgina. They both work for the hospital and have had COVID. His wife never left, she died there.
“She was very loving,” Moran told the “Perspective” podcast. She was a woman of faith. All his patients loved him, all his colleagues loved him. Since she left, it’s not the same in her establishment. touched a lot of people, a lot of people with his prayers. “
Like many hospitals, Providence St. Jude executives try to take care of the mental health of staff in a calmer situation and allow them to take a moment and think.
“We were pretty exhausted and we chatted with our staff and we never knew the difference between being tired and tired, now they do,” hospital CEO Brian Helleland told the “Perspective” podcast. “And it’s just something that we’ve been looking forward to, coming to a place where we can let people have vacations and just be home with their families and take time out.” We had people who worked more than 20 days in a row.
As the butterflies fly into the sky, the staff in tears remember those patients they had to say goodbye to.
“With this symbolic gesture, we pay homage to those who have left us and encourage those who are left behind to have hope and to know that our loving God is always with us, even in the darkest days,” said said a speaker at the ceremony.
You can listen to the full ‘Perspective’ podcast here: