Two years ago, the COVID-19 pandemic broke out.
And in the time since then, local healthcare professionals have served as the community’s frontline defense.
To memorialize this unprecedented event in healthcare, the Spiritual Care Department at Marian Regional Medical Center collected stories, poems and pandemic unique items such as masks and testing kits from hospital physicians, nurses and staff to include a one-of-a-kind piece of art.
Kathleen McKinnon, a local mixed media paper designer, was commissioned by the hospital to gather commissions from the Marian staff and create an installation to commemorate the COVID-19 pandemic. The artwork was presented to the Santa Maria hospital staff, and a blessing ceremony was performed.
The heart of the piece is a poem written by Marian Intensive Care Unit nurse Chad Payne.
Mr. Payne started writing the poem at the beginning of the pandemic, but didn’t complete the poem until recently.
“Here in this place, I’m planting a prayer, whispering softly into this dead air. Lord, I am tired, I have seen too much, so many have died and it feels like enough,” reads an excerpt.
The entirety of the poem is encompassed in a large yellow heart, which has become a symbol representing those who passed away due to COVID-19. The heart also contains the names of the loved ones of hospital staff who died during that time. This includes a nurse who lost three family members in a months and another who had two miscarriages.
“This meaningful piece of art captures the thoughts, feelings, and impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our staff,” said Sue Andersen, Marian Regional Medical Center president and CEO, in a news release.
“It is a reminder that our healthcare heroes tirelessly showed up each day and bravely faced the unknown for the care of our community,” Ms. Andersen said. “We are forever grateful for their dedication and compassion.”
The COVID-19 Commemorative Artwork is mounted in the Marian Regional Medical Center Healing Garden, an area for respite and reflection.