Stories: Who We Have Lost

I Came from Away…

Story aboutHearing The Words

I came from away, from Ft. Myers, Florida to be more precise. Although I am fortunate to have not lost a loved one from Covid-19, I attended the reading events online in Louisville and New York because my heart continues to go out to the tens of millions who are still grieving, as expressed in my song “Their Memory Survives.”

These two reading events brought the priceless stories from “Who We Lost,” the book, to life. Hearing the words that were read from the writers in this “Portable Covid Memorial” brought the profound importance of “Who We Lost” to a new level. To actually hear the stories from these brave writers who got up on stage and read their writings to a live audience was emotionally overwhelming to me. Suffice it to say, this experience confirms the fact that the pandemic is far from over. It is not history. I came from away through the magic of online technology.

Memorial Day

Story aboutRussell Murray, #17

Really missing my Dad today, a Korean War U.S. Army Veteran. I can still see him sitting in the assisted living dining room, looking out of the large windows watching the Memorial Day parade go by. Then we would enjoy a BBQ lunch together and I would spend the rest of the day with him, watching movies that honored our Veterans.

On Dan's Birthday, May 26th

Story aboutDan Stoyka

My husband, Dan Stoyka, would have been 66 years old today and we miss him terribly.

Dan grew up in Detroit, Pontiac, and Onaway, Michigan. He loved the outdoors, hunting, fishing, and riding motorcycles. His two children are Elizabeth and Jaden and his four grandchildren are Zachary, Owen, Avery, and Cora. Dan was a proud veteran and had a heart for those who are homeless.

This is our third birthday without him. We miss him so very much. In his honor, we buy a birthday cake at the store for someone who has ordered one, also for May 26th. We do this anonymously and I put a note in saying that this is in memory of my husband, who died due to Covid. It makes the day special for us and hopefully it brightens someone else’s day too.

I love and miss you, sweetheart.

I don’t know anyone well who died of COVID, but I have some friends suffering from what is known as “long COVID.” COVID is certainly not over for them. And living in Manhattan, I remember the pain and shock I experienced when I saw the refrigerated trucks parked by nearby hospitals. In reading the anthology prepared by Martha Greenwald, and attending the 5/20/23 reading of selections from the book, it became clear to me that while the most significant losses were experienced by those who lost loved ones, as a society we all suffered losses. The anti-vaccine, anti-masking groups, and those who thought the impact of COVID was being exaggerated for political reasons, contributed to the growing divisiveness in our country and no doubt impacted the ability of some to truly comfort and empathize with those who lost so much.

The book and the readings conveyed the powerful losses in poignant ways, and the commitment to sharing memories of loved ones who were lost shows the on-going strength of those who participated in the Who We Lost Project. It is a contribution to us all for which we can be thankful.

Who We Lost Event: 5/20/2023

Story aboutJody and Kathy

I am commenting on the gathering at Q.E.D. Astoria on 5/20/2023: an intimate, poignant, consoling & cathartic experience of shared grief. My husband now plans on sharing with a former coworker who lost her father during the height of the pandemic & who, like so many, was not able to have that final closure a funeral provides. My husband & I both believe the support of will be of great help to her–and countless others. Thank you for this invaluable bastion of support–perhaps even more valuable at present when it seems more people than not simply want to “move on,” and have you “get over it.”

Share Your Story