I want to thank Gov. Janet Mills for her earnest attempt to keep Maine residents, and especially the most vulnerable, safe during this pandemic. I am not a Maine resident, but I grew up in Maine and the bulk of my family continues to reside in Maine. I have a mother that lives in a Maine nursing home and is among the most vulnerable to COVID-19. Thankfully she has remained COVID free. Although my mother is COVID free, she is currently dying of other disease processes. She went on hospice recently and has progressively declined.

The dehumanizing experience of watching my mother decline through video chat has broken my heart for myself, my mom and the many people that have had loved ones die alone during this pandemic. Many people have missed out on special occasions during this pandemic, weddings cancelled, graduations cancelled, celebrations postponed, vacations delayed. Death, however, is eternal and there will not be a later date to postpone holding my mom’s hand, or giving her a hug or kiss. Once she is gone there will never be a later date for me or the many people that have lost or will lose loved ones to make up for not being there.

There have been many things in history that time and distance has allowed us as a people to judge as a bad decision. When COVID-19 is looked at in retrospect there will be many things that are learned, and one of those hopefully will be that we cannot dehumanize people and allow them to die alone and their families to suffer through video chat. We are better than this.

I ask Gov. Mills to review the end-of-life guidance for hospitals and nursing homes. Nobody should die without the comfort of those they love.

 

Barbara Turner

Westminster, Massachusetts


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