Tanner Hulin is a nurse who has seen enough to break his heart during the COVID-19 pandemic.
After a particularly rough day, he felt the need to share a message with the world.
So, he shared it in the form of a story of what he had been through that day.
That story included the moments in which he held a phone so a wife could FaceTime with her husband in his final moments before COVID-19 took him from her for good.
A powerful story
He started by speaking about what it was like to be in the room, holding that phone, so that a husband and wife could share a few brief last minutes together while kept apart by the husband’s medical isolation.
He began with the wife’s side of the conversation:
“She talked to him like none of us were in the room, and they were on their anniversary date dinner (next month). She told him all the things she was going to miss without him there and thanked him for being the best husband and father.”
But Tanner had more to share with the world about what it is like to be on the front line facing the virus.
He spoke about seeing the pain in the eyes of family members of victims and in the eyes of the victims themselves, as they are forced to fight for their lives without their loved ones, and without being able to hold a family member’s hand.
Tanner spoke about what the husband was going through, and what he felt when he witnessed it:
“Although he couldn’t respond, you could see in his eyes he knew her voice. I hate this virus. I hate that families must grieve in isolation. I hate the brokenness in our world, and I desperately want all things to be made new.”
A need for community
Tanner, just like many of us, has noticed that not everyone is on board with social distancing, staying at home, or any of the other measures that have been advised to help to flatten the coronavirus curve.
He understands that there will always be differing opinions and that we all have our own unique experiences.
Here is how he put it:
“I firmly believe that experience shapes opinion. I think this is part of the reason people can hold such strong, polar beliefs about a topic because everyone has drastically different experiences.”
But he also asks for understanding and compassion during these times, especially for the victims and their families.
“I’ve heard a lot of adamant opinions swirling around COVID. Some with personal experience but mostly those reiterating news releases and social media posts. Please consider your neighbors, friends, and family before airing your opinion. COVID is no joke.”
Keeping that community safe
Tanner goes on to remind us of the importance of staying home for the sake of others. He talks about how staying home can minimize the number of deaths.
But he goes deeper than that because he has been there for those deaths. When even the family members couldn’t be there, he was. It is our medical staff – our doctors and nurses – who are replacing family members in those last moments for dying patients.
He reminds us that each of those deaths is a person who once belonged to a family – a family that is now in mourning without them, a family who will never see them again.
While staying home may be an inconvenience, it can save a life. In many cases, it may be saving more than one life.
“My hope for you is that staying home would seem like a small price to pay to minimize the numbers of families who can’t hold their loved ones hand as they die. That staying home would seem like a small price to pay for the widow who must grieve alone tonight. That staying home would seem like a small price to pay to protect those who are vulnerable.”
Stay home. Stay safe. We’re all in this together.
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