Since the UK’s coronavirus outbreak began last year, nearly 150,000 people have died from the virus. In response to those who have been lost through the pandemic, terminal illness charity Marie Curie have organised a National Day of Reflection to remember loved ones and support those who are grieving for their loss or dealing with long COVID. Here’s everything you need to know, and how to get involved.
What is the National Day of Reflection?
Supported by over 100 organisations across the UK and spearheaded by Marie Curie, the National Day of Reflection is a chance to remember those who have lost their lives to COVID-19, and support those who have been bereaved as well as those still dealing with the effects of long covid.
“We hope that the National Day of Reflection provides a moment in time for everyone to reflect on our collective loss and show support for those who are grieving,” Meredith Niles, Marie Curie Executive Director said in a statement. “Grief and bereavement can be isolating, and social distancing has kept us apart when we most need connection. Just a small gesture of support can provide such a boost. There are many ways to get involved on the day and remind someone who is grieving that they are not alone.”
When is it being held?
The event will take place on March 23, exactly a year after the UK first went into lockdown. A national minute silence will be observed at 12 noon on Tuesday, accompanied by a live online event hosted by Marie Curie where guests can share their thoughts and experiences.
Another minute silence will be recognised at 8 p.m., where those taking part are encouraged to stand outside with a light or shine a light in your window “to remember someone who’s died and show your support to people going through bereavement,” the charity writes on their site.
How can you take part?
As well as observing the minutes of silence, Marie Curie is encouraging people to take a moment to connect with those grieving by sending flowers, a card, or by having a chat. If you’re not sure what to say to someone who’s experiencing bereavement, the charity has provided some tips to help you get on the right track. They also have a few short films of people sharing their experiences with loss, who explain what they found helpful and how you can support someone in a similar situation.
You can also take part in the National Day of Reflection by putting a colourful poster or a bunch of spring flowers in your window. There are posters available to colour in by ARTventuerers, or you can create your own. Hobbycraft are also selling a kit to make your own hand-crafted daffodil, with 25p of the proceeds going to Marie Curie.
The day will also be full of free online talks produced by the Good Grief festival, which aims to provide “inspiration and support” as well as the opportunity to “share your own experiences if you’d like to.” You can find out more about the event here.
You can share your support throughout the day on social media using #DayOfReflection.