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May 20, 2020 12:26:32 PM

As Colorado plans a remembrance Friday, May 15, 2020, to honor the victims of COVID-19, Banner Health in Northern Colorado is sharing a personal letter written by one nurse who worked in the intensive care unit with COVID-19 patients.

To the people I have lost,

I have seen things over these months that I will never be able to take back. They haunt my dreams and have left marks on my soul. They have changed the way I view the world, people, and most truly my God.

Each day, I took hold of the thin rope tied around you, keeping you on this earth. However, it became frayed and broken ushering you into death while I stood at the gates begging for your life. I walked with you to the end and didn’t want to let go. Please know, you were never alone. I prayed endlessly for you, for your families, and your ultimate healing. I held your hand and bargained with my God to save you. I prayed for you, cared for you, loved you. I stood up for your best interest, passed on my own basic needs, and put you first at every turn.

In the end, I had to stand back and acknowledge our paths have simply intersected on the worst days of your life, and I have no control of the outcome. I meant nothing to you before or after this because you will never know me. You spent most of our time together sedated and paralyzed.

However, for those days/hours I got to care for you, you were my world. It has been an honor to care for you and to help you into the afterlife where at least in my mind you are at peace. Just know, I fought for you, we fought for you. This is our labor of love and we will never quit; we do this for you.

You are loved,

Katie, a humbled ICU nurse

Katie Stencel has been a nurse for 7 years. She joined Banner in 2014. She and her co-workers at Banner in Northern Colorado have treated and discharged more than 210 patients for COVID-19 and continue to care for more than 20 patients hospitalized with the virus.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis has asked Coloradans to take a minute of silence Friday, May 15, 2020, at 7 p.m. to remember the state’s victims of COVID-19.
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