A Facebook group encouraging bereaved families to commemorate their loved ones by displaying a yellow heart in their window has brought together thousands of online users during the pandemic.
David Gompertz, who turned 84 today, lost his wife Sheila on 12 April, who died after contracting the virus. Gompertz, who grew up in a Jewish family, set up the group with help from his grandchildren.
In a span of just nine days, the Yellow Hearts To Remember Facebook group grew to a membership of over 5,100 and became an online community for those in mourning to express their grief in public and share pictures of those they lost.
“I can’t look down it without crying,” Gompertz told Jewish News on Tuesday. “It’s always families who have actually recorded that they have lost their nearest and dearest, they couldn’t say goodbye to them in hospital or in their care home. They couldn’t have a funeral.”
The creators of the Facebook group don’t feel that they own the page, he said. “It’s owned by all those families who have posted their loss. It’s a communal page.”
His granddaughter Becky, 19, who helped initiate the campaign with her cousin Hannah, also 19, said the Facebook page is meant to help members realise that they are not alone in their grief.
“The message is that you’re not alone and on our Facebook page you can feel that other people are going through the same thing as you are and it makes you feel a bit less isolated and I think it’s brought a comfort for a lot of people,” she said.
The Facebook group, her grandfather added, is bringing together a range of different faith communities and backgrounds. “When you look down the Facebook page, you see people from all cultures who are actually hurting and they find somewhere in common to express their grief,” he said.