“YOU can remember them and only that they are gone or the awful circumstances in which many left or you can cherish their memory and let it live on.
“You can do what they would want: smile, open your eyes, love, and go on.
“For those who need answers, they too will come but, for now, we must live our lives as they would want us to.”
Those were the words spoken yesterday to crowds who gathered in Cork at a remembrance event for those who died in nursing homes during the pandemic.
Organised by advocacy group Care Champions, the candlelit vigil took place yesterday afternoon in the new Marina Park on Monaghan Rd.
Families of residents who passed away in nursing homes and care settings were invited to bring a candle and a photograph of their loved one if they wished.
A member from each family was also invited to step up and to call out the name of their loved one who passed away.
“It got very emotional,” Pat Coyle of Care Champions told The Echo.
“Some people were kind of struggling when they went up to call out their family member’s name. Some couldn’t actually do it, someone else had to do it for them.”
Mr Coyle said some people travelled from outside of Cork, from counties such as Waterford, Wexford, and Tipperary, to attend the event.
The names of some deceased loved ones whose family members were not able to attend the event were also read out.
Mr Coyle said it was nice for families to meet in person, as many people had been speaking to each other online during the pandemic.
The remembrance event was organised to coincide with the once-off public holiday announced by the Government in January in recognition of the efforts of the public, volunteers, and all workers during the Covid-19 pandemic, and in remembrance of people who lost their lives due to the pandemic.
Another remembrance event organised by Care Champions took place in The Square in Dundalk at 2pm yesterday. Both events were livestreamed on the Care Champions’ Facebook page for those who were not able to attend in person.
Separately, tomorrow, the Lord Mayor of Cork, Colm Kelleher, and Cork City Council chief executive Ann Doherty will host a ceremony of remembrance and reflection in Cork City Hall at 12pm, to remember those who lost their lives during the pandemic and to pay tribute to those who contributed to the fight against the virus.
Members of the public can attend by booking free tickets on Eventbrite.