While it seems that we are gradually adapting to our “new normal,” the coronavirus pandemic has surely left an impact on the world, and especially on those who have had to go through the bitter experience of having the virus.
Lauren Sullivan, 41, parishioner at Our Lady of Loreto in Aurora, thought she had escaped the coronavirus pandemic threat when she started working remotely at the beginning of April. Sadly, it only took one day for her to realize that she was wrong. On that first day working from home, she began to experience COVID-like symptoms that worsened over the next few days.
When she finally made it to an Urgent Care clinic, she got tested for COVID-19 and the flu, and was sent home with prescriptions for antibiotics and breathing treatments. Five days later, her COVID-19 results came back positive.
“Going through this on the worst days, every single night, I thought I might die,” Sullivan told the Denver Catholic. “I prayed to God that his will be done, that he take me if it was my time, and if not, to please heal me so I can live more life with my girls.”
Sullivan, a single mother of two, during her moments of despair, could only think of what would happen to her girls if she was no longer present.
“I prayed that my daughter wouldn’t wake up in the morning to find me unresponsive… I prayed every day, especially hard on the worst ones [days]. Psalm 23 [The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing] ran through my mind over and over again, like a mantra,” she recalled.
When it comes to coronavirus and the reports of deaths, it’s easy to slip into thinking about the worst ending. However, during these difficult times, for Sullivan, prayer was a top priority and she knew God was the only one who had control over her illness.
I prayed every day, especially hard on the worst ones [days]. Psalm 23 [The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing] ran through my mind over and over again, like a mantra.”
“I really prayed for God’s will in my life during this illness,” she continued. “I wasn’t ready to die, but I understood too that it wasn’t my decision when it was my time to go. There were moments of despair and worry, mostly for the situation I was in at home alone with a child depending on me, but there were many moments of deep peace and calm as well.”
Though at times she feared for her life, she never lost hope. She woke up each morning thanking God for being in a state of grace, since she had recently been to confession and received the Eucharist right before the social distancing norms took place across the state. Lauren did everything to strengthen her faith, including participating in prayer with the rest of the world through social media and other platforms that the Church has offered during the pandemic. This certainly gave her the peace and the comfort she needed to cope with the virus.
“At that stage, there were no options to go to in-person confession or Mass, but I was incredibly grateful that I had so recently experienced the sacraments,” Sullivan said. “My priest friend, Father Jason Wunsch, offered a mass for me and my healing one evening when I was greatly suffering. Friends around the world prayed for me. I watched live streamed Mass frequently and watched the Pope’s live COVID-19 prayer service from Italy. My faith certainly sustained me during this battle.”
Sullivan has no doubt that her recovery was a result of prayer and the power of God that never left her alone. Luckily, even though her 16-year-old daughter lives in the same house, she did not contract the virus thanks to Sullivan isolating herself away from her for about 15 days.
“On Easter Sunday, I watched a live streamed Mass and was really struck by the story of ‘doubting’ Thomas,” Sullivan concluded. “Like Thomas, I can’t go back to the way things were either. I know I have a mission too. Death will no longer keep me in fear.”