With Spikes Reported Around the Country, Grassroots Site has Become A Solace for Families Suffering Losses from COVID-19
MourningAmerica.org is the Only Free Site Allowing Families and Friends to Post their Own Obituaries, Photos and Messages of Loved Ones who Have Died
With the nation’s death toll approaching 115,000 victims of the coronavirus, a public that has largely been trapped indoors has grappled with ways to honor those who have died from COVID-19. The non-profit tribute site www.mourningamerica.org is one of the first to provide that opportunity, and since its recent launch it has added more than 7,500 victims, which sadly include 250 healthcare workers and 54 couples. The site, a self-funded effort by South Carolina couple Dermot Jevens and Rebecca Heiss, is the only tribute platform that allows people to add their own obituaries, photos and memories of loved ones. Also, visitors to the site can search and find victims already added and leave their own messages.
“It’s a strange phenomenon,” said Jevens. “Every time our numbers go up, it’s a reminder of another soul we have lost. Rebecca and I take solace in the fact that MourningAmerica.org is providing a way for mourners to grieve when they can’t do so in person because of social distancing. When the site hit 7,500 victims, it was a reminder that we have a long way to go and the number is going to increase.”
“We designed mourningamerica.org as a way for people to honor the victims, and it has become so much more: a cathartic experience to express love and loss for families and friends that have come from this virus,” said Heiss. “We get a pit in our stomach every time we see the numbers increase, but it also reminds us more people are finding us and finding use for us.
Unlike traditional obituaries that appear in newspapers and online, victim profiles on mourningamerica.org are free to post to anyone in the US (note: editors at the site verify each passing and the information included). They can simply go onto the site and click “Share Their Story” and add details about their loved one. Additionally, visitors can search for victims already on the site and share a memory.
Mourningamerica.org was created by Jevens and Heiss as a way to honor the lives lost from the virus. Neither have backgrounds in tech, web building or fighting infectious diseases. The project was a labor of love borne from the heart.
“People are suffering great losses while being isolated from their family and friends at a vulnerable time,” said Jevens. “They need an outlet to express their feelings and honor those who have passed.”
“MourningAmerica.org is our way of giving people a voice at a time when they need it most,” said Heiss. “People are trapped at home, unable to be with their loved ones, and are now experiencing profound loss. We hope this platform allows them a much-needed way to share their feelings and honor the victims of this deadly disease.”
Jevens is a board-certified veterinary surgeon and entrepreneur who currently serves as Treasurer/ Secretary for the American Animal Hospital Association. Previously, he was Senior Vice President, Collaboration and Innovation for Compassion-First Pet Hospitals, where he was responsible for culture development, all specialty recruiting and innovation at a 41-hospital specialty and ER network. Jevens also served as founder/ CEO of Upstate Veterinary Specialists, a multi-specialty animal hospital with locations in Greenville, SC and Asheville, NC.
Heiss, Ph.D. is founder and CEO of Icueity, a mobile application that focuses on building self-awareness (available in June). Her new book, Instinct, will hit shelves in 2021. Heiss is a highly sought-after keynote speaker who uses her background in evolutionary biology to inspire people to break free of limiting, fear-based behaviors.