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April 22, 2020

Will We Remember?


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Open Letter

We cannot say it enough- there are real people behind the numbers.

We have been hearing these numbers for weeks now. Daily summaries. The numbers that we dreaded. The number of cases, the number of deaths. Our seniors for the most part. Each one has a name, many have families, many also died all alone.

After the crisis, we will be reminded of these numbers, and that’s how it should be. To better understand. After the crisis, we will remember the names, the families, the anxiety they felt and their immense pain.

 

When there are wars and conflicts, we remember the victims’ names to call to mind their fight and their courage. Will we remember them?

66. Sixty-six deaths at CHSLD de Sainte-Dorothée. I don’t know the names of the families who lost one of their own, but I think about them and their loved ones, and the pain the feel at not being able to say goodbye.

295. Two hundred and ninety-five confirmed cases among CISSS de Laval employees. I don’t know their names, but they all had so much courage faced with the invisible enemy, courage to cast their fear aside and make space for the immense sheer force of will they need in order to be there for infected citizens and for our vulnerable seniors.

When there are wars and conflicts, we pay tribute to our valiant soldiers and we acknowledge them, one by one. After the crisis, will we take the time to honour all the people who took risks on a daily basis, who saved lives for weeks on end. What were the names of all our guardian angels?

Will we remember that Je Contribue and Je bénévole are more than just platforms, numbers, hires and assignments?

They are the best things to have come out of this darkness. Each name, each person who registered through these sites, hold great humanity within them. The gift of self is the purest form of love. I’m thinking about Mrs. Roy, Mr. Fournier and his wife Mrs. Allard, Mrs. Dion, Mrs. Proulx and Mrs. Young.

I am also thinking of my own guardian angels, this big and beautiful community family, Mr. Lachapelle and his meals on wheels, Mr. Frey and his Maison de la Famille, Mr. Boisclair and Mrs. Harnois from St-Vincent de Paul. They don’t count the hours and aren’t worried about the task. So long as the day is filled with many ways for them to help our seniors and vulnerable citizens. There are numerous teams from Laval organizations on the front lines for our elders, SCAMA and this heart-on-hand we call Marie Bouchard Dorval from Partage Humanitaire.

Behind the number 4000 there are also all the in-home support and care workers who deserve our recognition for their immense contributions. Mrs. Loranger and Mr. Caron carry their voices.

And then there are the names of all the seniors living in non-profit residences. They’re worried too. There isn’t enough management staff to reassure them all. Mrs. Delisle is manning the fort in Sainte-Dorothée. It can be a thankless job, but it is done with the best interests of senior residents in mind. Mr. Beaudoin and his network defend their reality.

Confined at home, I am thinking of you all, those whose names I know and those behind the numbers. I think about their battle, I think about their humanity.

I was tidying up the bedroom of my 26 year-old son who no longer lives with us and was struck by emotion upon seeing the last message he received from his grandmother. It was posted in plain view on his bulletin board, written a few months before she passed away a few years back. The last words written by her trembling hand were “I’ll love you forever ”.

After the crisis and behind the numbers, will we remember all of these people, will we remember our seniors?

After the crisis, will we have any “I’ll love you forevers” for them?

 

Your MNA

Monique Sauvé
Vice-chair of the Committee on Citizen Relations
Official Opposition Critic for Employment and Social Solidarity
Official Opposition Critic for Seniors and Informal Caregivers

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