In the battle against coronavirus, healthcare workers are the ones fighting on the frontlines.

Japan has over 16,000 confirmed coronavirus cases (as of May 21), but behind the scenes, there’s also an unseen number of healthcare and hospital workers working tirelessly to fulfill their duties in helping others.

One of these frontliners is Japanese Twitter user Tomo’s (@yoshinaga_tomo) mother, who works as a nurse at a hospital in Japan.

In a worldwide pandemic, nurses are some of those who are at the highest risk for infection, and the words Tomo received from her mother shows that she knows full well the sacrifice she's making each time she clocks in.

According to Tomo, she was called on by her mother one morning before going to work. “I have something to say,” began the mother, who singlehandedly raised Tomo. Tomo then sat down as she listened to her mother’s words.

“I wrote you a farewell letter.”

She continued,

If anything happens to me, I’ll go under quarantine, and in the worst-case scenario, I won’t be able to say goodbye to you. So just in case, I wanted to say this to you face-to-face:

I’m glad I gave birth to you.
I’m glad I raised you.
I’m proud that you’re my daughter.
I’m grateful we were able to live together because of my job of being a nurse.
So if something happens to me, don’t bear a grudge against the hospital.

I want to see you at your wedding. I think that might be my regret.
But even so, I still go to work.
I’m taking care not to get infected, but there’s no guarantee that it won’t ever happen.

Show me your face.

By the end of the mother’s speech, both women burst into tears. Tomo shared her mother’s heartfelt words on Twitter, and also added what she said to her mother after. She mentions, “If you stay safe mom, once this is all over let’s tear up this note while we eat something nice together. Mom, I love you! I’m waiting for you!”

Tomo’s initial tweet garnered over 390,000 likes on Twitter, with plenty of Japanese Twitter users being brought to tears by the mother’s words. Some users have expressed thanks to Japan’s healthcare workers through comments like “I think Japan will endure thanks to healthcare professionals like Tomo’s mother. I have nothing but gratitude.”

While most of us are forced to stay at home, it’s easy to forget that there are thousands of people still showing up to work to fight the spread of the coronavirus.

Tomo’s tweets can be taken as a sobering realization of the unparalleled sacrifice that healthcare workers make as they witness the suffering and loss that the pandemic brings every day. The amount of bravery that they must have for dutifully helping others while fully knowing the risks is something most of us can only hope to achieve, and something we all should be grateful for.


By - Jen Santelices.