Bermuda Hospitals Board [BHB] this season has “dedicated its Christmas tree to remember those we have lost to Covid-19.”
“The tree has pride of place in the main lobby of King Edward VII Memorial Hospital [KEMH],” said BHB CEO Michael Richmond. “This year we felt it was fitting for our tree to help heal and comfort our staff who have lost loved ones and patients, and the family and friends of the 106 persons who Bermuda has lost to the disease.”
A spokesperson said, “Interested members of the public can request a pre-cut ornament from BHB and decorate it in memory of a family member or loved one who they lost to the disease. When completed, decorated ornaments should be returned to KEMH to be hung on the Covid-19 Remembrance Tree.”
“Many in our community are still grieving the loss of loved ones to this disease,” said BHB Acting Chief of Psychiatry Anna Neilson-Williams. “Taking time to remember the person and simple acts such as writing a note, are mechanisms that can help people heal emotionally.
“Our staff are human and they too have felt the toll of loss some in their families and many as they cared for their patients. Due to necessary visiting restrictions, in several instances they, and not the next of kin, were at the patient bedside until the end. Oftentimes even more difficult for our staff was having to console the next of kin who could not be present. We also recognise the large number of staff from overseas, who have worked tirelessly over the pandemic, many of whom have also suffered losses, and this complex cumulative aspect can take its toll.”
A spokesperson added, “BHB has staff from well over 50 different countries. India is one of those, which was hit particularly hard by the virus. Some of our staff lost family in that wave. The Covid-19 Remembrance Tree is a way they can also find some solace.
“The tree will have 106 silver baubles in honour of each life lost to Covid-19 in Bermuda, and 54 gold baubles representing all the countries BHB staff are from. Each gold ornament symbolising the friends and family our staff members lost to Covid-19 in their home countries.
“Due to privacy laws and patient confidentiality, next of kin of those who passed due to Covid-19 have not been contacted directly by BHB to submit an ornament. We encourage everyone who learns about the Covid-19 Remembrance Tree to share the news widely.
“If you want to collect an ornament please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details on when they will be available. Unfortunately, in order to comply with privacy laws, no names or photos will be allowed in the ornament decorations.”