COVID 19 Memorial Blanket Project Update – December 10, 2022
(Please note, that this update is going to be rather vulnerable and personal.)
Yesterday our family gathered for our annual Christmas meal. The farm provided outside space for the children to run freely, and campfires to roast Chestnuts, provide warmth, and a space to feel. The children decorated cookies, and filled the walls with laughter, they played hide and seek outside, Aunts told stories of Christmas’s past, Uncles shared what animal tracks they found on their various strolls around the farm property.
When we sat down for dinner, suddenly the house felt heavy, empty, solemn, and vacant. The empty seat like a fire alarm to our collective group. I can’t imagine the other households, who try to navigate the firsts through grief. Who light candles, and hold close something to remind them of the one they lost. To try to hold back the tears as someone says grace, and hate saying goodbye when the evening is done, worried that maybe that this too will be a last time.
In August, our family lost my cousin Penny. She was dynamic, her life was full of challenges, and she overcame them all. Then COVID ravaged her body, she spent weeks on a ventilator, and then she was gone. It’s taken a really long time for me to write those words down in a sentence, and it’s shaken our family core. It’s broken our hearts and then there was another empty seat to add to the all the others.
When we began this project there were under 5000 souls that had been taken by the pandemic, and somehow now the latest reported numbers are 48493.
I don’t understand how we got here I don’t understand how in Canada we have now lost this many souls. We knew this would be a fluid situation, but this far in, I struggle with understanding how we got here.
When we started this journey to create a memorial blanket to represent the gravity and the collective weight of the loses all these families, no one knew how many would be taken. No one knew how large this project would become, and how much time it would take to complete. At this point the numbers continue to grow, and we don’t know how many squares will be required. This project has grown to a size, that we don’t know when it will end, it’s fluid, and it’s a huge undertaking.
Construction has begun, after several modifications of the engineering of the project. Each panel is 8 feet by 6 feet, double sided, they will hang vertically, suspended. To date we will need to construct 505, vertical stands, consisting of 96 squares each. This adds a new layer of things that need to be worked on.
We cannot predict when this project will be completed, there are so many working parts. Thus far we have logged just over 7000 squares for the main blanket, and approx. 4000 squares for individual blankets that are being distributed to shelters, and other organizations throughout Canada.
We want to give thanks to those who have sent squares in, and those who continue to encourage us. I have taken the responsibility to complete this project, and it remains something that I know I was supposed to do. Today it feels even more driven. I know I can’t do it alone, and I know that this will take more time than we had anticipated, back in the early days of the project.
I just wanted to share where we were with this project, it’s been a long time since the last update.
With much love and gratitude, holding space for each family who has lost someone.