I have written a bit already about the laudable character that Shauna displayed this year, but for a brief moment, I pause to honour her as my Hero of This Whacky Year.
She was just settling into her new role as executive director (manager) of a brand new retirement home when the pandemic came upon us.
It is an independent home, not one of the big conglomerates with all sorts of corporate direction and support, so she was largely on her own. The usual, hands-on owner of the facility is a doctor, who was obliged to spend much time at the hospital, sometimes weeks at a time, largely leaving her as sole leader. But she is a clever and competent lady and triumphed through it all.
She managed her residents with understanding and efficiency by explaining and implementing the new rules which seemed to change on an almost daily basis for months. Not all of the clients could readily understand the need for the restrictions, such as no visits into the outside world, no visitors in the home for a time, and then highly restricted visits when the situation ameliorated for a time before the second wave inundated us. However, Sha worked through the situation with grace and charity.
Under her supervision, the residence did remarkably well. The only COVID case they experienced was with a worker who contracted the virus outside of the residence, caught it early, and didn't spread it to a single person. Of course, that meant a fourteen-day, precautionary lockdown in which the old folk were confined to their rooms, but she, her team, and the residents sailed through what could have been a difficult-to-enforce ordeal. I recall one photo of her delivering meals in an Hawaiian outfit in one of the many special attempts to boost morale.
You already know of her most significant act, that of sending her children to live with their father. Shauna realized how vulnerable homes like hers were, and indeed, there were outbreaks in many of them. Therefore, for two months, she gave up her children for their safety.
You have already seen a version of this photo of the three of them embracing on the front steps upon their homecoming, but I think it is powerful and worth repeating.
Shauna has been a gem with us as well and may have even been more concerned over our welfare than we have been if that is possible. To wit: just before Christmas, she chose to celebrate her birthday without us and without much ado, with no cake or special meal together but just a brief cyber get-together. Then, on Christmas Day, she kept her visit to us brief and distanced and let ker kids spend the bulk of the day with us after keeping them in isolation for a week prior. She was also instrumental in arranging the sleepovers that we were able to have with both of them, one night with the two of them together, and another with each separately, for a total of three nights. What a blessing!
I think it is quite evident by now that she deserves the title of Hero of This Whacky Year.