The COVID-19 community memorial at Anythink Wright Farms

I remember a heavy conversation I had recently with a coworker about COVID-19. We talked about how in our everyday life, and in conversations with people, we were struggling to really voice the magnitude of loss. I mean, how do you grieve half a million people? How do you understand the amount of loss, how do you even begin to process it?  When Sept. 11 happened, we carried the loss of almost 3,000 people for months – for years – and it was (and is) so heavy. So how do we, as a community, begin to mourn our loss from COVID, with a number so big we cannot comprehend it?

One of the many ways to grieve as a community is through art. Art, in its many different forms, can help us visualize the scale of human loss. Around the world, artists are helping memorialize those we have lost through painting and sculpture, through graphic design and poetry. A great article by Artnet captures the many displays around the world that are helping their countries and communities mourn. Another way to help memorialize loss is through a public memorial. Memorials are at once a display of individual experience and a public act of grieving.  

Here at Anythink Wright Farms, we are preparing for our very first community memorial; a way for our community to grieve together and to acknowledge our loss and our hope as we move forward together.  Our COVID Memorial, which is housed in one of our conference rooms at the Wright Farms branch, focuses on the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

Customers will have a chance to participate by lighting a luminary bag (with a battery-operated candle) and writing a name of either a person they lost during COVID or something that they lost during COVID (a job, security, health, relationships, etc.). They will then walk their bag through the five stages, taking a moment to reflect on where they are in that loss as they move forward.

At the end of the COVID Memorial, community members will have a chance to finish up with a dose of much needed hope: they will view “Points of Light” from other people – including frontline workers – that kept them going during the pandemic. The goal of this memorial is to help our Anythink community move forward from the unthinkable, while making sure that we acknowledge the collective loss that everyone has experienced this past year. The COVID Community Memorial is up at Anythink Wright Farms through the end of May.