FGCU installs 10,000 ceramic candles to memorialize lives lost to COVID-19

Published: March 23, 2021 6:21 PM EDT
Updated: March 23, 2021 6:23 PM EDT

A memorial of 10,000 ceramic candles was created to honor Southwest Florida’s coronavirus victims — 2,000 blue-green candles for every soul lost in Southwest Florida and 8,000 white candles for every three people who died across the rest of the state.

Religious leaders of all faiths, along with students, stood and prayed at FGCU Tuesday for victims of COVID-19.

“I’m not the only one grieving right now,” said Brittney Hall, whose grandmother died of COVID-19. “I feel like, really in a way, the whole world is grieving because we’re all losing people we love.”

There’s pain in the numbers too: 10,000 ceramic flowers are etched into FGCU’s grass, each representing a soul lost to COVID-19.

“When she went into the hospital, she sent me a video saying ‘I’m in the hospital,’” Hall said. “She was with my mom saying, ‘OK, we have COVID, but we’re not going to let it get us.’”

The prayer and instillation of the memorial at FGCU has proved meaningful.

“It means to me that there’s hope for maybe connections in the future,” Hall said. “We’ll be able to learn from each other who are going through this at the same time.”

It’s a memorial to allow people to feel the love they might have lost during the pandemic.

“The love she’s given me is still with me,” Hall said. “I still feel her love every day.”

The public is encouraged to visit the installation over the next two weeks on FGCU’s campus if you have a mask and socially distance.