United Way launches virtual memorial for those lost during pandemic

KOLD News 5-5:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 4:47 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Southern Arizona families, who have lost loved ones during the pandemic, now have a new way to honor them. The Arizona End of Life Care Partnership at the United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona launched a virtual memorial called “A Final Farewell.”

Anyone in the community can submit the names of loved ones they’ve lost to get them placed on the website’s memorial wall. The memorial is allowing people like Meredith Bode, the chance to pay tribute to those they’ve lost.

“It makes me feel good. I just have one more way to honor him and remember him and sort of say goodbye in a way that other people can see his name,” Meredith Bode, who lost her father during the pandemic.

Her dad passed away during the pandemic. Although he didn’t die from the virus, COVID impacted her family’s ability to visit him.

“Because of so many of the precautions that long-term care facilities are taking we weren’t able to be with him in person for the past year and a half,” she said. “We did a lot of Zoom meetings and phone calls, but he was really by himself.”

She says they didn’t get to say goodbye in the way they would have liked.

“If COVID hadn’t been around, we would have been visiting much more often and had some more special moments with him in person,” she said. “We had to sort of rearrange our plans in that way.”

Many people didn’t get the opportunity to mourn together due to the pandemic.

“Community mourning is a really important piece of many cultural and religious traditions as well as a part of being human. The pandemic really disrupted that,” said Andrew Pieterick, the marketing manager for the Arizona End of Life Care Partnership at the United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona.

The online memorial hopes to give families a sense of community and ability to grieve together. Learn how to put your loved ones on the memorial, here.

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