The Seattle Covid Memorial Project hosted a socially distanced event at Green Lake Park honoring those lost to the COVID-19 pandemic.

SEATTLE — As novel coronavirus hospitalizations and the death toll continues to rise, a group is trying to help people find a way to honor those lost to the virus.

Normally when there is a type of tragedy or crisis people can come together to mourn, but that is difficult when everyone is encouraged to socially distance and things like singing and hugging could be problematic. But a group found a creative way to remember those who have lost their lives to COVID-19.

The Seattle Covid Memorial Project hosted its second event Saturday at Seattle’s Green Lake Park. They took turns hitting a gong for each life lost to COVID-19 in King County, sanitizing the gavel they were using between each person.

“I think the numbers got so big so fast, they stopped being numbers people could associate with individual lives,” explained Jamie Clausen.

Dan Cory has seen the COVID-19 pandemic hurt those close to him.

“I’ve had friends who lost their daughter and a friend today who lost their uncle,” said Cory. “This is real. It’s affecting real people.”

Cory said he thought of those lives as he took a turn hitting the gong and hopes the event encourages people to continue following safety recommendations.

“I miss going to the office, I miss going to visit my friends, I miss going to restaurants, but it’s far more important to stay home and keep everybody safe,” he said.

Clausen is a probate attorney who came up with the idea after helping some families that lost loved ones to COVID. She realized those families and the community might need a way to mourn the deaths.

“I felt like some of the anger around COVID might be some misplaced grief and having some opportunities to might be helpful,” she said.

The ceremony was open to anyone who wanted to join and those in attendance practiced social distancing.

“Every single sound that’s made is someone who is a life and someone who was valued by our community and our world, and kind of taking a second to realize the gravity of the situation,” said Olivia Poirier.

Click here for more information about the Seattle Covid Memorial Project.

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