OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Medical professionals such as nurses and doctors, along with religious leaders, met Thursday night outside OU Health for a COVID-19 vigil to remember the lives lost to the virus.
It’s a reality everyone including Oklahomans have been forced to live day in and day out for a year. Thursday night marks 365 days since the first Oklahoman died of COVID-19. On the night exactly one year later, medical professionals, health and religious leaders, among others, met to remember the 7,644 lives lost to the coronavirus pandemic. For each life lost, beacons of light shone as paper lanterns Thursday night.
“We think about you always, we talk about you still, you have never been forgotten and you never will,” said Mandy Nelson with OU Health Edmond.
It’s a virus that vehemently took our country and our state by storm. The frontline fighters met near the intersection of Northeast 13th Street and Lincoln Boulevard for an evening of community and healing. All the people who took the stand talked about the year forever etched into our memory.
“We want to remember the past,” said a faith leader named Danny, who spoke at the vigil. “When we lose our past, when we lose our memories, when we lose the memories of the loved ones that mattered to us, we will lose our past, we will lose our identity.”
All of them leaned on one another to share their own experiences during the unprecedented time.
“I think about the surreal feeling in the hospital hallways,” said Dr. Jabraan Pasha with OU Health, “Best described as a deafening silence.”
There were more than 7,000 paper lanterns across the lawn of OU Health next to the pond, lighting the night, guiding a broken community to a path of healing. However, 365 days later, Oklahoma is still in battle with the very virus that shook us to the core. All of us, hoping for the light at the end of the tunnel to shine through.
“Know that our lives are in one another’s hands, surely that has come clear. Do not reach out your hands, reach out your heart, reach out your words,” said an employee of OU Health on the stand. “Promise this world your love, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health so long as we shall live.”