LANSING, Mich — CORRECTION- Family will not be calling memorial Yellow Hearts.
“They are a name, they’re not a number and the names haven’t been recognized,” said Cheryl Garza
Cheryl and her family want to do something special to remember all of the COVID-19 victims in Michigan after her husband, Freddy, lost his battle to the virus in November. He was just 42 years old.
“We couldn’t communicate,” she said. “We didn’t have FaceTime. We couldn’t even be there, we weren’t even allowed in the hospital. So from Oct. 29 until he passed, he was alone.”
That devastating experience has motivated Cheryl; Freddy’s mom, Laura; and Freddy’s brother, George, to get involved in a campaign that hits home for many families.
“Yellow Hearts became the symbol for COVID, after a granddaughter lost her grandmother and she wanted a symbol in her window, so yellow hearts became the symbol," Cheryl said.
The family contacted Yellow Hearts and asked them to make a heart for Freddy, which was displayed at the memorial in Texas. From there, the family decided that they wanted to bring something like Yellow Hearts to Michigan. So, they came up with the Michigan COVID Memorial.
“If I can help even one person,” Laura said. “It’s just devastating and one of the hardest thing.”
The family is still at the beginning stages of the project, but they have already found two perfect locations where the memorial can be housed, Lansing Mall and the Westwood Mall in Jackson.
“We are going to write people’s names of loved ones lost on these hearts and we are going to display them on the walls,” Cheryl said. “We’d like to eventually have this either as a museum or as a traveling display.”
As they try and help others dealing with the same grief, Freddy’s family is depending on memories to help them heal.
“With Freddy, there was always a party after the party,” Cheryl said. “He was family man. Family was his most important thing.”
“He was a protector in the family, he was always looking out for everyone else,” George said.
If you would like to donate or get involved with the memorial in, Click here.