GRIEVING Brits will place pics of candles in windows on Covid Memorial Day to remember friends and family killed by coronavirus.
January 1 is a global day of remembrance for the world’s 1.8 million Covid dead, with vigils, poems and readings to help people "get in touch with their grief", says an organiser.
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The poignant event allows people to acknowledge their loss, and remember the loved ones killed by the virus one year after it emerged from Wuhan, China.
It'll see people across five continents joining in a day of collective grief for all those lost to the deadly bug in 2020.
Starting in New Zealand (GMT +12) and ending in Hawaii (GMT -12), people will mark Covid Memorial Day with vigils, services and individual acts of remembrance.
"This is an idea for an international movement, as it's affected the entire world, and it allows us to share those emotions," says founder Stefan Simanowitz.
"It's very non-political – we all have the same need to grieve," he added.
The London-based journalist told The Sun Online: “It is important to remember that grief is the flip side of love.
"The more you deeply you love, the more painful the grief."
He said the idea for the massive event started back in July, after speaking with pals.
Aware of the spiralling death toll, Stefan thought it would be beneficial for a worldwide day of remembrance.
"Almost two million have been taken by this disease… collective grief can be very important," he said.
Asked whether British people were trying to put on a brave face despite the loss of family and friends during the pandemic, Stefan agreed there was a "lot of unresolved grief" in the UK.
Coronavirus deaths in the UK jumped today by nearly 1,000 – the highest toll since April.
Today’s fatalities brings the official national death toll to 72,548.
But stats released by agencies, along with other information on deaths in recent days, show there have now been more than 88,000 involving Covid-19 in the UK, reports the Evening Standard.
Stefan said he hopes that by "taking a moment", whether it be "listening to music to think about a loved one", meditating, lighting a candle or putting a pic of a candle in the window, "it's a chance for the world to breathe out and say 'it's affected us all'."
"We had been planning to hold public events and vigils but because of Tier 4 restrictions, we couldn't do that," he added.
Stefan said: "We need to keep positive, but the reason we have these rituals is that otherwise it gets bottle up and these things can surprise and sneak up on you later."
A livestream will broadcast music, poems and readings around the globe – spanning 24 timezones – both live and prerecorded.
Plus, there will be readings by members of bereaved families, addresses by interfaith-leaders and, it is hoped, performances and readings by actors and musicians.
TV behavioural psychologist, Jo Hemmings, who is helping to coordinate Covid Memorial Day, said: "Over the last year many of us have been touched by grief either directly or indirectly.
"Collective grieving is an important both for our own mental well-being as well as being support for others.
“That is why I felt passionately about being part of [the event] – a day when you can light a candle, take a pebble to the top of a hill or simply sit and reflect on those you have lost.
"A united moment when we can all acknowledge and express our personal of loss as well as the share grief of so many others.”
How to get involved in Covid Memorial Day
Covid Memorial Day on January 1 is a day to acknowledge our sorrow
Experts say that grief needs to be witnessed and yet – over the last year – we have faced a huge amount of loss and had little opportunity to grieve.
"If we can come together, even just for one day, and share our common sorrow, it will be very powerful," says Stefan Simanowitz, UK founder.
He says you can take part on January 1 by:
- Drawing a picture of a candle and putting it in your window
- Listening to music to think about a loved one
- There will be candlelit vigils held after sundown in cities, towns and villages
- A one-minute silence will be held on the hour every hour from sunrise in New Zealand until sunset in Hawaii, on January 1
- Post material on social media with a hashtag #CovidMemorialDay
- It could be a photo, a poem, a reading, a song, a painting. People are encouraged to post their own messages
You can follow events via Twitter: @CovidMemoryDay
It's also available on Instagram: @CovidMemorialDay2021
Plus, the remembrance event can also be followed via Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Covid-Memorial-Day-102617784916816/
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