As the world battles against the novel coronavirus pandemic, essential workers like doctors, nurses are the real heroes who are fighting on the frontlines.
One such hero is Suzanne Vaughan, 43, from Norfolk, England who is an operating department practitioner at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kings Lynn who wanted to increase her hours from 28 to 50 per week to help with the situation.
Vaughan has two daughters: Bella, 9, and Hettie, 7 who are taken care of by Vaughan’s sister Charlotte in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, and so they said their goodbyes on March 28.
“I brought them to my sister’s home because I wanted to keep them safe, because I work at the hospital and was exposing myself to the virus each day,” Vaughan said. “But I also wanted to work more, and I couldn’t do more hours and keep the girls.
“It was a really difficult decision, but it was a sacrifice that needed to be made. Leaving them was very emotional because I didn’t know how long it would be until I saw them again — I never expected it to be nine weeks.”
“But so many others have made the same sacrifices because we want to help people and fight this virus.
“It was something I needed to do — I started doing this job over 20 years ago because I wanted to help people.”
She spent the next nine weeks in the ICU and in the COVID-19 accidents and emergencies department but was lonely when she was off duty.
“It was difficult the first few weeks, because I’d come home from work and they wouldn’t be there,” she explained. “It was dead quiet, no one running about or screaming or laughing, it was horrible.
“I don’t know what to do without them singing and dancing.”
By the time her nine weeks approached, Vaughan knew she had to reduce her hours again as she missed her girls.
“I put work first for nine weeks, but I think now it’s time I put my girls first,” she said. “I was tired from work and wanted to see them, but I knew I couldn’t cuddle them so I stuck to it. There were many times I thought to myself, ‘I can’t do this anymore.’”
After her application for her hours to be reduced was approved, she began counting down the days until she would be able to see her girls again, calling it “the one thing keeping me going.”
She decided to keep her visit as a secret as she didn’t want to risk a heartbreaking change of plans.
“We kept it a secret from them because I didn’t want to disappoint them in case something changed, but it was all worthwhile when I saw their reactions,” she said.
“I just didn’t want to let them go and when they cried I just felt it in my heart. It was amazing.”
A heartwarming video of their reunion, posted by Charlotte, shows Vaughan sneaking up behind her two daughters before she spoke and they turned to see her. The surprise and joy on their faces has brought smiles on the faces of thousands who saw the video.
Just in case you missed it. Here’s the girls being reunited with Mummy after 9 weeks of being away so she could help save lives. Please feel free to share x pic.twitter.com/KhPGNAqwD8
— Charlotte Savage (@Lottsoflove21) June 2, 2020
The girls had weekly virtual meetings with a counselor while they were separated from their mom. But Bella seemed to understand why her mom had to be gone so long.
“I think the [National Health Service] are really great people trying to save the world,” Bella said. “Mummy did a brilliant job. She had to be away to save people. She’s my hero.”