April 13, 2020

What they did for love...

Writing about these incidents to a friend today I thought I might share them here too. They are examples from the past of the self sacrificing mindset of those who care for us now, during this pandemic.
In 1910 there was a minor diphtheria epidemic in Jersey City. Despite the fact that she had a newborn boy (my father), two girls 2 and 6 and a 7 year old boy at home, my grandmother, a community nurse, went out to care for others who were coming down with the disease. One night she got home to find a quarantine sign on her door. Her two year old and six year old girls were down with the disease. The other children were closeted in her bedroom. Despite her care both of the girls died. I believe that, even though she had two children after that (one named for the six year old who had died) it haunted her the rest of her life, yet she continued on.
When I was planning on going to nursing school my grandmother sent me to visit a younger nurse friend of hers. Her friend had been in her nursing school's class of 1919. She had two pictures on her mantel. One was of 20 girls in their striped dresses with leg of mutton sleeves and aprons on the day they entered nursing school. The second was her graduation picture two years later in her white graduate nurse's uniform holding a single rose. When I asked her if she had a picture of her graduating class she said "that's it". She was the only one left, the rest having died nursing in the 1918 flu pandemic.
This is by way of saying, I think, that these things happen. We can't control them however much in this day and age we think science is able to, and we simply must live through them as best we can and pray that things might get better someday the way it did for my grandmother and her friend.

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