Stories: Who We Have Lost

Gathering at QED, Astoria, Queens, NY

Who did you lose to Covid 19? Jody Settle

On Saturday afternoon, May 20, 2023, family and friends, among them a circle of survivors bonded by the loss of loved ones to the COVID-19 virus, gathered at QED in Astoria, New York. We were there to recognize the publication of Who We Lost: A Portable COVID Memorial and to share our stories honoring our loved ones.

It was an emotional day. Even the weather seemed to mourn as copious amounts of rain fell from the sky. It was wonderful to personally meet so many people who I have only ever known as a face in a little box on a Zoom meeting screen.

It seemed as if we were finally holding a wake or sitting Shiva — something many of us were unable to do early on in the pandemic. We laughed; we cried; we remembered; we validated their importance in our lives. And, we left committed to keeping their memories alive.

In the story I read about my husband, Jody Settle, I talked about how he enjoyed the music of Willie Nelson. When I got home on Saturday, ready to decompress, I turned on the radio only to hear Willie Nelson’s song “You Were Always On My Mind” pour forth from the speakers. A few tears rolled down my cheeks as I laughed out loud. I could only imagine Jody telling me that all of them had gathered together to remember us.

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