Early murmurings of a novel and potentially deadly new disease spreading through the Wuhan province of China began in late 2019. Terms like “social distancing” and “mask mandates” were not household terms. It wouldn’t take long before that all changed and the COVID-19 pandemic began to devastate the lives of millions of people around the globe. As of the time of this writing, COVID-19 has claimed hundreds of thousands of victims in the United States alone, and the devastation is not over yet. This almost incomprehensible disaster is both large-scale in terms of the numbers and incredibly person to each and every person who has lost a loved one. It brings to the forefront the question: How will we properly honor those who have passed on?
Online Tributes Leave A Lasting Message
The process of honoring the deceased has changed just like so many others things have as COVID-19 continues to work its way throughout the country and the world. Purdue University Professor of counseling psychology Heather Servaty-Seib was recently interviewed on the topic of expressions of grief in a digital format and was noted to have said this:
Servaty-Seib said the use of technology does change how people express themselves, often forcing them to condense how they express their feelings. But it still allows people the chance to take part and connect with others.
“Is it still intimate? I think it can be,” she said. “You can see their tears and genuinely respond as though speaking face to face. It’s still possible to see people’s facial expressions, which is a primary means of nonverbal communication.”
There is no question that this experience is different from the traditional funeral and burial procedures that many people were familiar with from the past. However, not everyone feels safe to attend a funeral given the high risk of contracting this novel coronavirus at such an event. Thus, online tributes have become more prominent in their use as an instrument for expressing grief and for honoring those who have passed on. They are also a great way to share the memorial with other loved ones who may or may not be able to attend a funeral.
No One Should Be Forgotten
It is important to remember that no human being who passes away as a result of contracting COVID-19 or because of any other reason should be forgotten. There are thousands of people perishing every day in the United States as of the time of this writing, and it is easy to get lost in the numbers, but each person deserves to be honored.
There have already been some incredible stories shared about those who have sadly passed away from this terrible disease. NBC News reported a few of the following stories as examples of the immense impact that these victims had on the lives of others while they were still alive:
- Patricia Frieson age 64 — A nurse in Chicago, IL, Patricia always went out of her way to make sure that others were cared for in the best ways possible. She went out of her way to try to win a smile from everyone she met.
- Oliver Stokes Jr. age 44 — This gentleman broke into the DJ scene in New Orleans under the nickname “DJ Black N Mild”. He was well liked by those who enjoyed his talents as a DJ, and he frequently won competitions for his talents.
- Lawrence Riley age 66 — Lawrence was a retired firefighter and Navy vet. This Milwaukee hero will be missed by his community.
Each of these individuals and the thousands just like them who are losing their lives to this disease every day deserve for the world to know their stories. The best way to make that happen is to have an online tribute page set up for them. Years from now, loved ones will still look back on these online tributes and have a rush of memories of their dearly departed flood back into their minds. A mixture of emotions is likely to emerge, but the overall impact is that those who remain here on Earth have something to look to and remember. It is a great and affordable way to honor someone you love today.