In Memoriam?

S M Chen
6 min readApr 5, 2020

“The living owe it to those who no longer can speak to tell their story for them.”

  • Czeslaw Milosz (1911–2004); Polish writer; 1980 Nobel Literature prizewinner; “The Issa Valley” (1955 novel)

I recently encountered a short article entitled “In Memoriam: Healthcare Workers Who Have Died of COVID-19.”

Listed were more than 100 names, with accompanying age, occupation and location. The article solicited submissions from readers in order to keep information current. The intention of the providing website is to update the list periodically.

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Many names are from Italy. But there are other countries: in no particular order — Iran, Pakistan, the Philippines, Spain, France, the UK, Egypt, Mexico, Brazil, Honduras, Serbia, Germany, Morocco, Malaysia, Canada; and various states of the USA. China, while mentioned, is almost certainly underrepresented. The list itself is surely incomplete and represents but the visible tip of the COVID iceberg. We know the disease has stricken close to 200 countries and taken life in many.

Most names are of the middle-aged, but there are some relatively young (even in their 20s) and a few elderly, to fill out the upper portion of the bell curve.

It was particularly the young that brought pangs. They were taken well before their time, perhaps even before they were fully formed (their bodies may have been, but their psyches perhaps not). They gave themselves to a greater cause, whose outcome they had no way of predicting.

Even now we do not know the end game. No one knows for sure how COVID19 will play out, what devastation it will leave in its wake. It may be worse than most of us anticipate.

Occupations of the deceased on the list include mostly physicians and nurses, although there are a few other healthcare workers (e.g. dentists, epidemiologists, etc.).

We humans like to have tangible reminders of something that happened in the past. Our lives are comprised of the past, present, and future. We make calendars, and watches, and clocks. They mark time’s passage, which is all we know.