The other day, I clicked on a New York Times article detailing the nearly 100,000 lives lost to date in the U.S. from Covid. Names and memories were gathered from obituaries across the nation to capture the gravity of the loss and personalize the people behind the numbers.

My eyes landed on the caption for Cornelia Ann Hunt. She died on May 13 from the effects of Covid. According to the article, her last words were “thank you,” as she reached out for her hospice nurse’s hand. 

I learned that Cornelia had a long history of expressing her gratitude daily for those who loved and cared for her. Following Cornelia’s lead, her family took the opportunity in her obituary to express their own gratitude for the nurses and staff who cared for Cornelia when they couldn’t be with her during her final few weeks of life.

Covid has taken much from people, but there are some things it simply doesn’t have the power to change. Like Cornelia’s grateful heart, reaching out for a nearby hand and whispering one final “thank you.”

Author: Alyssa Forcehimes, PhD

An expert in behavior change, substance use disorders and empathic communication, Dr. Alyssa Forcehimes serves as President of The Change Companies® and Train for Change Inc.® She lives in Arizona with her husband and two daughters.