BANGOR, Maine — When she comes home after a long day of work at the hospital, Shannon Smith will now be alone.
“I can't come home and tuck my kids in at night. I can't kiss them in the morning,” she said. “My life is upside down.”
A nurse at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, Smith comes into contact with dozens of patients a day—some who have or could have COVID-19.
That is why she recently made the tough choice to self-isolate away from her two boys for the immediate future.
She says it's not for her protection, but for theirs, especially because she said she cannot bear to see one of her sons get sick again.
"He had leukemia for three years so that fear of him getting sick is always going to be there. It's just so much risk and to be it's not worth it,” Smith said.
Both kids are now living with their father full-time, according to Smith.
Aside from the occasional FaceTime call, she has something else to hold look forward to when she comes home every day: photos.
A local photographer captured the final moments before the boys left home.
"There's more behind just people putting on masks and going to work,” photographer Danielle Georgia Alley said.
Alley shared Smith’s story on her blog because she wanted others to understand the sacrifice health care workers are making across the state and the country.
She said she also wanted to do it for Smith.
"I wanted her to have something to look back on in the time she's away from them,” Alley said.
When Smith first saw the photos it was a hard pill to swallow.
"I ran into my bedroom and just cried,” Smith said. “It made it real.”
She hopes her story encourages others to remember how important it is to just stay home.
At NEWS CENTER Maine, we’re focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: www.newscentermaine.com/coronavirus.