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Letters from the Homefront: Loss and Grieving

The following “Letters from the Homefront” account is part of our new initiative, Collecting in Quarantine. Inspired by the poignant letters in the Maryland Historical Society collection documenting past adversities from the Spanish flu of 1918, to the Annapolis yellow fever epidemics of 1793 and 1800, MdHS is calling on Marylanders to send their personal stories of how the pandemic is impacting their lives.

Entrance Gateway to Greenmount Cemetery
Quarantine has changed the way people are mourning their loves ones, as described by this contributor. “Entrance Gateway to Greenmount Cemetery,” print by Edward Weber & Co., circa 1851, H120. Hambleton Print Collection, H. Furlong Baldwin Library, Maryland Historical Society.

May 14, 2020 – On this day, Denise from White Marsh writes:

My brother died on Saturday March 7, 2020, following surgery. At that time, the coronavirus was being  talked about as being in Washington state. The viewing was Wednesday March 11th, and by then gatherings in Maryland were restricted to 250 people. We had a big turnout at the viewing and the funeral the following day, Thursday March 12th, but still within the guidelines.

By the next week, the restrictions on gatherings kept getting tighter and tighter. Soon it was 10 people or less, then by the end of the month it was shelter-in-place.

I am so sorry to have lost my brother, but I feel fortunate that the family was able to have a traditional viewing and funeral for him. I grieve along with the families whose loved ones died, from whatever cause, during this pandemic who did not get that opportunity.

Please note: The views, information, and opinions expressed and shared on the underbelly through the Collecting in Quarantine project do not necessarily represent those of the Maryland Historical Society. Our staff does not verify for accuracy the information contained within these submissions. We also do not edit the content beyond minor modifications for formatting or to remove personally identifying information, if applicable. Just like the historic letters in our collection, each letter presents the writer’s own perspective. The primary purpose of this series, with the permission of contributors, is to share and collect the experiences of Marylanders living through the COVID-19 crisis at this moment in time.

To learn more about the Collecting in Quarantine project and how to share a story of your own, click here.