I have been deeply moved by the events and experience of the last several weeks- as a world, as a healthcare community, and as a greater human family. There has been much written about and reflected upon during our current times in our COVID-19 pandemic world. What has struck me most about this time has been our collective human experience that crosses all borders and boundaries: our anxiety, fear, uncertainty, grief and loss as human beings. Even more so, I have been struck by the outpouring of the love, compassion, and determination to help others and each other in our world- by our deep desire to serve our fellow human brothers and sisters.
I have also been struck by how much I have witnessed our collective need and craving for human connection- in myself, in my friends and colleagues, and in our neighbors and communities. As human beings we are hard-wired for connection, and our current world experience has stripped away our usual methods of coming together to support and connect. In our socially distanced world, we are being asked to deny what we as human beings need to survive and thrive.
I have been moved by the openness, vulnerability, love and compassion, that shines so clearly through each of our times together. And I have been moved by the suffering, fear, anxiety and grief that you have shared so courageously. As physicians, we are on the frontlines of caring for our human brothers and sisters, and their parents, grandparents, children and grandchildren. At the same time, we are grandmothers, mothers, wives, sisters, daughters and granddaughters ourselves. How do we keep going when this feels so hard? How do we keep moving forward, when we fear bringing home illness to our loved ones and to ourselves? How do we remain motivated to have compassion for our patients and their families, and ourselves and our own families, when our world and our future feels so uncertain?
Added to this, has been the stress of our duty and responsibility to remain calm in a time of crisis, as physicians and as leaders of our teams, clinics, departments and hospitals. How do we provide comfort and support to our own teams and staff struggling with anxiety and fear, when we ourselves feel on the brink of anxiety and breakdown ourselves? How do we reassure our teams that despite the uncertainty of our ability as organizations and healthcare systems to provide personal protective equipment, protect those with high risk health issues, and protect our staff’s financial and job security, that we as individuals, physicians and leaders still have their back? That we will all make it through this together?
I think what has struck me most about this time, has been how much each of us has been tested: to reach deep within ourselves to find the courage and strength to go on, to show up, and to continue to serve. To find the compassion deep within us to love not only others and each other, but first and foremost ourselves. What a tremendous test of character this has been and continues to be. One that I know each of us will conquer, with the help, strength and love of our women physician sisters. We will get there together, and we will come out on the other side stronger, more resilient, and more powerful than ever before.
With tremendous love and gratitude for each of you,