FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) – South Floridians are taking part in a national day of mourning to remember those who have died due to the coronavirus pandemic.
During a year when so many felt alone, there was an unfortunate connection that millions of people experienced together: losing someone close due to COVID-19.
“I try to keep my composure, but he was the love of my life,” memorial organizer Angela Pumo Cohen said. “He was the center of my world. I know life will go on, but it’s a big, big loss. I think of all the people that lost loved ones and never got to see them again.”
Cohen and her husband, Richard Cohen, were together for more than 30 years and married for 29 of them.
“I always said he was much nicer than me. He was in the music business,” she said.
She said he lived an exciting life, but last spring, when the COVID-19 pandemic quickly spread across the country, things changed.
At 77 years old and battling an autoimmune disease, Cohen knew, should he get sick, it would be an uphill battle, so when he came down with the novel coronavirus, she anticipated what would happen next.
“That he was going to go to the hospital, that I was never going to see him again, and that he wasn’t going to make it,” Cohen said.
On Aug. 5, with Angela by his side, he lost his battle.
“I got to spend an hour and a half with him before he passed and an hour after he passed, which has made me all the more diligent to have this COVID memorial and for people to be able to mourn their loved ones and not just be a number,” Cohen said.
That memorial is a national day of mourning Tuesday that is in coordination with the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
Angela wanted to make sure her community would be involved, and she worked with mayors across the area she helped organize South Florida’s role in the nationwide memorial.
On Tuesday at 5:30 p.m., memorial candles were lit, buildings across the area lit up in an amber hue and church bells rang out.
Cohen hopes by coming together, it will send a feeling of warmth and message of strength to those who need it most.
“The world is with you, and we all mourn with you, and we all pray for this vaccine to help the world go forward,” Cohen said.
St. Sebastian Catholic Church in Fort Lauderdale rang their bells for five minutes to remember those who lost their battle with COVID-19.
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