For the past year and a half, our hospitals have been stretched thin with COVID-19 putting countless patients in the ICU.
While most win the fight, not everyone recovers.
"Every day we have had a death from COVID and I remember having four in one day," Carolyn Edwards said, chaplain manager at Deaconess.
She said before the pandemic, her team would rarely have to see dying patients, instead, they would simply go around to offer encouragement and support but with COVID-19, end-of-life visits have become a regular occurrence.
While our doctors and nurses have been the medical lifeline throughout the pandemic, Edwards and her team have been the unsung heroes providing the just-as-vital emotional lifeline.
"There's no comfort for what families have gone through," she said. "But we can be right their side and really, hopefully, give some sense of the presence of God with them as they're going through this."
Because visitors are a rarity during this time, Edwards said the biggest toll is not the virus itself, but rather the distance it brings.
"To see patients that actually were, if they were alert, were so very lonely," she said. "We call the family that cannot come in so for them to know that we are there and consistently praying, brings relief to every person that we call."
Deaconess' Spiritual Care team has helped so many find comfort in these unprecedented times, but their work is not limited to patients and families. Edwards said perhaps one of their biggest roles has been supporting those on the frontline.
"Because they were so stressed and so we spent a lot of time listening and just being present on the units," she said.
Offering a shoulder to lean on, Edwards said, for those holding the weight of the pandemic on their own, and while she knows her work is far from over, she said through faith, there's a light at the end of the tunnel.
"I feel actually stronger because I feel more dependent on God," She said. "I don't think we can get through it without dependency on God."