It’s not easy writing a message of condolences when your heart is heavy. This morning I woke to find out that Sr Dr Charity Chishimba has died from COVID-19. She died trying to save the lives of her COVID-19 patients.
There’s no greater love for others than sacrificing your own life to save theirs. Sr Dr Chishimba has died the way she lived. She dedicated her whole life to the service of others, her Church and her Creator. May her soul rest in eternal peace!
COVID-19 has been associated with an increased mortality in doctors and health care workers. Until an effective cure is developed, risk assessments at work, mitigating confounding factors, adequate supply of personal protective equipment and enhanced protection against infection are necessary to protect health care professionals on the coronavirus front line. Otherwise this occupational risk can lead to further untimely mortality and become another unintended consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sr Dr Chishimba’s death from COVID-19 has robbed our people not only of a leader in the response, but also of someone with an unparalleled epidemiological understanding of the area. From the first day she qualified as a medical doctor until the last day she died, she dedicated her life to the health of her people, especially in Chilubula.
The cruelty of this pandemic seems limitless. So many broken promises, broken connections, broken hearts. It is a loss layered upon the greatest loss, under the shadow of the virus.
Today, the inner circle of bereaved — children, parents, spouses, siblings — are very much alone in the aftermath of a death. They mourn without the friends, co-workers, and cousins who would have come to lighten the burden of grief — which is a real thing: the weight on the chest, the difficulty of moving. Funerals, wakes, visiting hours and shivas take place in empty rooms.
In the good old days, which is now defined as any time before March 2020, the most important thing you could do after a death was show up. You hugged and maybe held on for a few extra moments that spoke volumes of care. (Remember long hugs?) Sometimes, when there was a big crowd and you didn’t get a chance to hug or speak, eye contact alone made the commitment tangible, words were unnecessary. All that is no more.
President of the Socialist Party