A group of local healthcare workers is organizing a candlelight memorial display at Government Plaza to honor those who impacted by COVID-19.

Sarah Pederson, a palliative care worker at DCH Regional Medical Center, told The Thread that she and several colleagues who work in critical care at the hospital felt a growing desire to put together a community event for people to grief in the wake of the pandemic.

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"So many people never got that chance to grieve, or hold proper funerals, which I believe are so important to that process," Pederson said. "My background is in hospice and end-of-life, and so I recognize what this can do for people."

The come-and-go memorial will be held in Government Plaza on May 8 and 9, and will feature a vast display of memorial candles, poems, pictures, and other visual reminders, with a final display at the fountain there meant to be the site of moments of reflection.

Pederson emphasized that this event is not officially sponsored or put together by DCH, but she rather sees this as a community service, something bigger than just the hospital.

"We've seen local businesses come together - a lumber yard donated wood, the city provided the space, a local copy shop printed flyers," Pderson said. "All of these people knew someone who had been impacted by COVID-19 in one way or another, whether they knew someone that had died or someone that had lost their job."

Pederson closed by saying that after this memorial ends, she wants the community to focus on hope and perseverance as Tuscaloosa comes out of the pandemic.

To submit any photos or other items for the memorial, email tuscaloosalightmemorial@gmail.com.

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