Silence held to remember lives lost to Covid- 19
IT was a moment for personal reflection but also uniting in grief as a minute’s silence was held at the National Covid Memorial. People gathered for an emotional and poignant event at the recently completed I Remember – Scotland’s Covid Memorial in Pollok Country Park.
Three years after the first national lockdown and the first deaths to Covid, people stopped to remember loved ones and gathered at a place that has been created to allow for peace and healing.
Covid memorial artist Alec Finlay led those gathered in a minute’s silence at noon as a mark of remembrance.
Bailie Thomas Kerr, representing Glasgow’s Lord Provost Jacqueline McLaren, laid a wreath in memory of all those lost to Covid.
Scotland’s Makar Kathleen Jamie joined Mr Finlay to read “I remember” passages.
Bereaved relatives and people affected by the pandemic gathered to remember loved ones.
Heather Stewart, from New Stevenston, North Lanarkshire, was emotional as she spoke of her husband Stephen who died from Covid in January 2021.
Mrs Stewart, 49, who has developed Long Covid, said: “We didn’t get to hold the funeral Stephen deserved or be with family afterwards. That’s why it is so important to have this place to remember.
“We had Covid at the same time and isolated in the house. If I’d known then Stephen would have been taken to hospital and not recover I might have done things differently.”
Mr Kerr said: “Three years on from lockdown might seem like a long time, but it is still very raw for people.
“As a council we were honoured to be able to facilitate this memorial for people to be able to come and remember loved ones.”
The event coincided with the completion of work on the national memorial. The official opening of the first phase of the memorial at the Riverside Grove was held last May.
Our sister title The Herald initiated and led the campaign to create Scotland’s Covid memorial and Glasgow City Council stepped forward with the offer of Pollok Country Park as a location.
Following the setting up of a steering group, artist and poet Mr Finlay was invited to create the memorial and his vision was I Remember – Scotland’s Covid Memorial, which is a series of wooden tree supports formed from physical poses of people affected by the pandemic.
He also reached out to people to submit an “I remember”, a single sentence prompt that allowed people to think about the impact the pandemic had on them and he received hundreds in response.
After I remember passages were read, a memorial walk was led from Riverside Grove along Ash Road to a second focal point at Birch Grove, all connected by supports.
A total of 40 supports form a memorial walk throughout the park and are linked to audio of I Remember passages that were recorded by actor Robert Carlyle and which are accessible from QR codes on supports.
Marie Curie supported our sister title The Herald in its campaign and set up a National Day of Reflection.
Ashley Thomson, head of fundraising for Scotland at Marie Curie, said: “Whether sudden or expected the death of someone close to us can be devastating. We will all feel the pain of grief at some point in our lives.
“While life is beginning to return to normal for some people, thousands of people across Scotland are living with the trauma of loss. Having Scotland’s covid memorial at Pollok Park is very much needed. It’s peaceful and where bereaved people can reflect and remember their loved ones whenever they need to.”