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March 22, 2021

Mourning # 30

Mourning # 30


I mourn the people I know and the people

I don’t know, the people I care about

and those I don’t give a damn about

this death is not legitimate death

it is a cheating death, that creeps up

and takes the strong and bold, the best

of us: doctors teachers nurses preachers

whole families gone in a cyclone

flying bodies like loose plastic bags risen up

into the atmosphere. I mourn you all

the grandparents aunts uncles cousins

fathers mothers brothers sisters friends

all whose time had come, most who were

not given a chance to complete their

self-actualization, their journey. It is

so sad. And it’s not over yet.


---- Dr. Rebecca Shadowen, infectious disease

specialist in Bowling Green Kentucky used to tell

everyone: “This isn’t politics, this is science.”

Dr. Shadowen was hospitalized with SARS CoV-2

for four months before she succumbed. On Face-

book she wrote: “If you could save the life of another

person without harming your own, would you?”

Dr. Shadowen advocated for mask-wearing and social

distancing, hand-washing from the beginning, hoping

Bowling Green would be a model for the rest of KY.

Dr. Shadowen was working as a member of the Bowling

Green-Warren County Coronavirus Workgroup when

she became ill. Her husband, David, took her to the

hospital because she was having trouble breathing

for four months she was on and off ventilators, in

and out of ICU, when she was lucid she worked from

her hospital bed, sharing what she was experiencing

several times she seemed to be recovering, thought 

David Shadowen, also a doctor. Rebecca Shadowen

died on September 11th surrounded by her husband

and two adult children. She was 62.


David and Rebecca were college sweethearts in the 1970’s

they decided to go into medicine together and specialize in

infectious diseases. She worked at the Medical Center at

Bowling Green for 30 years and mentored many students

and residents. After she became sick she begged the county

authorities to adopt a local mask ordinance without success.

After her death the governor tweeted that Dr. Shadowen was,

“a front line hero.” She had probably contracted covid from

a home health aide that infected her mother, her husband and

her daughter. Her son Jesse tested negative. Before she got

sick, Rebecca Shadowen, went into the empty Broadway United

Methodist Church to pray. She was aware of the risks and

responsibilities of health care workers. At the memorial service

former patients said: “I am alive today because she saved my life.”

Her daughter Kathryn remembered that when they went out

around town together people would stop her mother to thank her.

“It was really powerful to be the kid of someone who saved people.

A lot of kids think of their parents as heroes. Mine actually was.”







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