Candlelight Vigil Held to Honor Lives Lost During Coronavirus in Hartford

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It’s something many families have faced: how to say goodbye when you can’t be there and when you can’t mourn together.

“When she passed, we couldn’t go to the hospital. We couldn’t say our goodbyes,” said Erica Turner, administrative assistant for Union Baptist Church of Hartford.

Turner’s grandmother, Joyce Hudson, died from COVID-19 in April. Only 10 people were allowed at the service and Turner says it was a drive-by memorial.

“She had given so much to so many other people, and at that time, we could not have everyone there to truly honor her the way that she was supposed to be,” said Turner.

Turner knew other families must be going through the same thing, so she and Carmon Funeral Homes came together to help create a space to grieve.

Outside Union Baptist Church on Friday, the names of loved ones were read. At the front, pictures were taped on a board that showed the people who are deeply missed. Candles were lit and placed side by side as a remembrance of their lives.

Hazel Lee Bailey, 73, had 10 children and died in the hospital in April.

“She did everything for us, so we’re going to try to continue her legacy,” said Keisha Bailey-Acevedo, Bailey’s daughter.

Carol Copeland-Johnson’s son, 38-year-old Dyshawn, was killed in Hartford in May.

“Every day I’m at the cemetery. I’m crying. Every day we’re torn by this,” said Copeland-Johnson.

“It’s so difficult for many families when they can’t grieve like they normally would because they weren’t able to honor their loves ones’ life,” said Frank Carmon with Carmon Community Funeral Homes.

Organizers hope being at the event helps bring a sense of closure and reminds people that while it may sometimes feel like it, they’re not alone.

“I would like for her and everyone else to be remembered for the life that they truly lived, a life that, no matter how they passed, whether it was COVID-19 or not that regardless, that they were loved. They were cared for, and even though they may not be here, we still honor them still to this day,” said Turner.

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