Lena Kaiser was working on a Roche ad when her grandmother suddenly died of COVID-19. Hear why the words “thank you” took on profound personal meaning for her.

Three weeks ago my grandpa was diagnosed with the new coronavirus. He has heart, kidney and lung conditions, so he was clearly vulnerable. My grandma, who was always very fit and had no previous illnesses, stayed home alone while my grandpa was fighting the virus at the hospital. A few days later, however, granny didn’t feel well. We first thought it was due to the psychological strain. Then she came to the same hospital as my grandpa, even to the same room, and was also diagnosed with COVID-19. 

They could still celebrate my grandfather’s 90th birthday together. But that same night, her condition suddenly worsened. My grandfather sat by her bed. He held her hand, so she calmed down and could fall asleep. She never regained consciousness. The next day she was transferred to a nearby university hospital and died within a few hours. 

At the same time, I was designing an advertisement for Roche. The ad shows two hands, in protective gloves, that form a heart. The words ‘Thank you’ are written on the background. When I started working on the ad, my grandfather had been in intensive care for a week, and my granny was not yet in any danger. 

The ad was important for me then, but I work with dozens of images and messages each week. Now, the message takes on profound personal meaning. I am especially thankful to the medical staff. They went out of their way so that a few family members could see my granny and she did not have to go alone, even though protective equipment was scarce. I am also grateful that my grandmother did not have to suffer. Two weeks ago I was still with her, and I delivered her groceries. Then she just fell out of life. Isn’t that the way we all wish to go? And I know that she would have loved that they saved my grandfather’s life.

I think, in such a time, one cannot say thank you often enough. From my two hands and the bottom of my heart, thank you.

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