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    Commemorating the Lives Lost During the COVID-19 Pandemic

    August 5, 2020

August 5, 2020

Commemorating the Lives Lost During the COVID-19 Pandemic

In recognition of this unprecedented time and the many lives lost during the COVID-19 pandemic, StoryCorps would like to create a space for reflection and remembrance.

StoryCorps invites families and friends to record a conversation celebrating the life and legacy of loved ones who have died. Each conversation will be archived at the Library of Congress, where family members can access these memories for generations to come.

Your conversations can center around memories of the person who has died — what they mean to you, how they changed you, or anything else you’d like to share. You might describe the person’s character, what brought them joy, or the impact they had on your life. You may complete your tribute by uploading photos as well.

We hope these conversations can bring comfort and space for reflection by helping families and communities mourn. We acknowledge that people process loss in different ways and on different timetables and hope this guide can be helpful as you consider recording a memorial conversation.


Preparing Yourself for a Memorial Conversation

• There is no right or wrong way to have this conversation. All feelings are welcome.

• Be curious and open to surprises. Conversations about grief can go in unexpected directions.

• What you discuss is up to you. You don’t have to share anything that you don’t wish to talk about.

• Listen closely to one another. Repeating back what your partner says can be affirming for them and helpful in forming your next question.

• It’s okay to move on from certain questions, have moments of silence throughout your conversation or try recording another day.

• Allow your partner to talk about their experiences in their own words; try asking general, open-ended questions that don’t assume answers.

• Remember to check in with each other before, during, and after your conversation.


Suggested Questions for COVID-19 Memorial Conversations

Here are some questions to ask, though we also welcome you to make up your own. The person you record with will naturally shape the direction of the conversation.

• What advice would you offer to others who are going through this experience?

• What do you miss most about _____________?

• Do you have one or two favorite memories of _____________?

• Is there anything else you want the world to know about _____________?

How to Record a Memorial Conversation

  1. Find someone with whom you feel comfortable speaking about your loved one, and set aside time to record an intentional conversation. Together, review our list of memorial questions, and choose 5 to 10 to begin your conversation. Decide on a date and time to record.
  2. If you two are social distancing, record on StoryCorps Connect. If you are physically together, record with the StoryCorps App. You’ll need an account to start, so create one ahead of time.
  3. Discuss the privacy settings with your partner. Your interview may be public, private, or available only to the StoryCorps online community. You can agree ahead of time; you can also choose after finishing your conversation. Additionally, you’ll be able to change your privacy settings at any time.
  4. Start the memorial by sharing your names and the date. Then introduce the name of the person you’re remembering, their relationship to you and the other person recording, and when and where they died. For example, “My name is Rhonda Petrovic, and my name is Jovan Petrovic, and we’re recording on June 24, 2020. Today we are remembering our mother, Dragana Petrovic. She passed away from COVID-19 on May 19, 2020 in Brooklyn, New York.”
  5. Continue by asking questions of one another and sharing important memories. You can find additional interview tips below.
  6. After your interview, enter your summary, title, and keywords, including the keywords COVID MEMORIALS and your loved one’s name.
  7. Thank your partner for sharing this experience with you. Share your memorial with people who knew your loved one and might want to listen to the conversation. You can also share your memorial on social media, and tag #COVIDMEMORIALS and @StoryCorps.

 


Selected Stories About Loss

Watch, listen to, and share the stories below about loss and love:

story


"I heard her say, 'Don’t you be no sad mama for my grandbaby!'"

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Walking in a Mother’s Legacy

Sada Jackson, who lost her mother, Ileana Watson, to breast cancer, just before becoming a mother herself, sits down with her mother’s best friend to look back.
Read the full transcript here.

story


“I thought “you know if you don't try, you’ll always regret it”. So I wrote her a letter…”

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The Risk That Led Him To The Love Of His Life

Eddie Chang talks to his youngest daughter, Tria, about the week that sparked a romance that would last four decades, and about all that he still loves about his late wife, E. F. Wen.
Read the full transcript here.

 

story


"His hands were those of someone who worked since the age of six."

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His Grandfather, the Gardener

Santiago Arredondo honors his grandfather, Jose Guadalupe Enrique Sanchez, whose portrait he has tattooed on his arm.
Read the full transcript here.

story


“It’s really surprising the amount of life lessons you can learn in a kitchen if you have the right teacher.”

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A Grandmother’s Wisdom

Chloe Longfellow remembers the happy memories and life lessons taught to her by her grandmother, many of which took place in the kitchen.
Read the full transcript here.

 

Source: SNPR Story Corps