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Belt Publishing

Who We Lost: A Portable COVID Memorial

Regular price $18.95 USD
Regular price Sale price $18.95 USD
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edited by Martha Greenwald
May 9, 2023

"Poignant and practical . . . a wonderful resource for those seeking an outlet for their grief." —Publishers Weekly

Who We Lost is the first book that directly acknowledges the free-floating grief of the COVID-bereaved, affirms that it must be addressed, and offers a purposeful activity that respects mourners as well as the mourned. 

Early in the pandemic, Martha Greenwald invited mourners to write memories of loved ones lost to COVID on the Who We Lost website ( The site has been growing ever since, as the bereaved continue to write and publish stories, and the writer's toolbox section of the website offers guidance for anyone wishing to contribute a story about who they lost to this grassroots public memorial. 

The resultant book, Who We Lost: A Portable COVID Memorial, contains dozens of essays as well as writing prompts to help others write remembrances. It is a community-generated tribute, a eulogy, a handbook, and a collective memorial. 

(please direct media requests to Phoebe Mogharei at 

ISBN: 9781953368539 | PAPERBACK | 5X7 | $18.95 | MAY 9, 2023


Advance praise for Who We Lost: 

"Who We Lost is a contemporary document in the ancient, ceremonious, vernacular tradition that links grief and language, in ordinary details: A recipe for pork shoulder. An electric scooter. Intubations and respirators. A specific tune,  a specific ice cream shop. Death at home, in a hospital, on Zoom. In the words of an old lyric, it is a precious jewel to be plain. That is what the writers here do for our contemporary disaster of the Covid pandemic: on a personal scale, they make it plain." —Robert Pinsky

"The collection, with many hopeful notes among its heartbreaking ones, should serve to connect readers who might feel alone in their losses and may inspire others to join the project.” —Margaret Quamme, Booklist

"One of the few places—indeed, perhaps the only one of its kind—to interact openly (and without subterfuge) with the tremendous scale of loss we suffered during the pandemic. . . . Who We Lost manages, in its specificity, to immortalize not only the people whose lives and losses are represented here but also so many others whose names have gone unlisted." —Caitlin Archer-Helke, Third Coast Review

"As this country struggles to grapple with the depth of the pandemic’s devastation, Martha Greenwald and her storytellers open up the sacred spaces of memory, inviting us to consider how tenderness and joy live alongside unrelenting grief. This is a book that exhorts us to witness and shelter the lived experience of pandemic death, and to join in the effort to memorialize through storytelling. In reading those stories we listen, and in listening we remember." —Sarah Wagner, professor of anthropology, George Washington University

"The stories collected here, contributed through an ingenious public memorial project, are the ones we all know—beleaguered care workers, grieving families, awestruck friends. It’s all of us trying to make sense of the incomprehensible things that really happened in the first two years of the pandemic. Our duty to remember is personal, but it is also collective. Memory is a gift from the past to the future. This volume deserves to be given." —Scott Gabriel Knowles, disaster historian and creator of

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