White lights glimmered on the Honor Garden’s trees like sunlight refracted through the morning dew. Between the purples and greens of the Garden’s plants are unmarked stones, huddled in small masses near their larger counterparts, each inscribed with the name of someone lost. As we move together as a family into this next phase of a pandemic, into a place that sometimes feels like the influence of the disease is waning, memorials like that held on January 13th remind us that we’re not yet through in our fight against COVID-19. Members of Team UMC and family members gathered to honor two loving employees lost to COVID-19 in 2022, both Rosela Monteverde of EVS and Lisa Guerra of CVICU.
Rosela was described as an ambitious dreamer. She always wished to go far and see the world. She saw magic in everything, which may describe her love for Disney princesses, each with a wave of magic in their stories. She was dedicated to nursing, always providing her patients with the best care. She was a compassionate nurse. In a speech remembering her, her former supervisor said, “She was great to work with, and we were left with an empty space when we lost her.”
Lisa was described as beautiful, loving, and compassionate to everyone she met. She was an incredibly hard and resilient worker. She would sometimes come in struggling with pain, but she would push through, despite being barely able to walk. She would say, “If I don’t come in, I can’t have coffee and talk with my friends.” One of her friends said, “We love her so much, and we miss her. She will never be forgotten.”
Remembrance is at the heart of the Honor Garden. It’s a lasting symbol, etched with words like “forever,” and that names and promises are written in stone attest to the importance of never forgetting. Together, we remember the toll of COVID-19 on every healthcare worker, of the hours, of the struggles, of the sadness and trauma, but also of the victories, of the “steadfastness,” of the resiliency of workers in this critical field. When there was nowhere else to turn, medical workers met an unprecedented challenge and saved innumerable lives. Rosela and Lisa were part of that effort. Their memorial reminds our staff to be Firm, not Fearful, as we manage the pandemic and stay vigilant of future challenges.
The etching on one side of the Garden reads, “A culture is defined by the generosity of spirit that lives within. Although COVID-19 gave way to stress, weariness, and loss, every member of Team UMC…at the bedside and beyond…persevered with skillful hands and open hearts. Let it be known – this Garden forever honors those lost and the many who were saved. We honor you for healing, cherishing, and faithfully supporting those you serve and those who serve with you. You are steadfast in your dedication. UMC Health System is forever grateful.”
Forever. As medical workers come and go, Lisa and Rosela’s names will always be under the enduring light of the trees above, beneath the occasional shadows of swaying leaves, and always near the loving smiles of old friends, family, and coworkers.
Thank you for everything you’ve done. Team UMC will cherish your memories always.