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“Mother’s Day was bittersweet this year.”

“Mother’s Day was bittersweet this year.”
By Isabella Park

Forest Hills, NY
United States

Mother’s Day was bittersweet this year. That Sunday morning, I woke up to French toast and coffee with roses from my family. My 10-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter gave me handmade cards. Couldn’t give me hugs and kisses. After breakfast with my family, I put on my scrubs and went to the hospital to see my patients.

As a palliative care doctor during this COVID crisis, I admitted to my service patients who were in the dying process and needed management of their end-of-life symptoms. I had two female patients in their 50s on ventilators who were dying. After seeing them and adjusting their medications, I called their families.

I updated the husband of one patient and before we ended the call he asked me to say happy Mother’s Day to her for their autistic adult son, who was having a terrible time with her dying. I promised I would say both the husband’s and son’s names to her.

Then I called the daughter of the second patient, to update her. She cried and refused FaceTime that day because it was just too hard because it was Mother’s Day. In her tears, she asked if I could tell her mother happy Mother’s Day and that she loves her so much. I promised I would.

Two mothers who are unable to go back home. I called my mother on my car ride home and cried. I told her I had a loving Mother’s Day morning juxtaposed to a painful Mother’s Day for these two families who couldn’t see their mothers. She reminded me that I was there for them and that is consoling for the families. I came home to homemade cake and cherished my Mother’s Day even more because I shared it with those families that day.

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