Statewide COVID-19 memorial helping Nebraskans cope

MADISON, Neb. - One small town in rural Nebraska has found a permanent way to remember loved ones.

The U.S. reached a grim milestone in the pandemic this week, recording 650,000 COVID-19 deaths. While millions of Americans are still trying to process the loss of family, friends, and neighbors.

Over 2,500 Nebraskans have lost their lives to COVID-19.

Susan Seeman said goodbye to her mother last fall.

"She loved being with her family," said Seeman. " She would have done anything for them, she did do anything for them."

93-year-old Eilene Myers was recovering from hip surgery in Fremont.

"They called and said she tested positive for COVID," said Seeman.

Despite medical help, her condition became critical. She passed away 12 days after testing positive for COVID-19.

"I just told her, before I left, 'Mom you know I'm always with you,'" said Seeman.

Seeman said she struggled with the grief.

"They're not just a statistic, they're real people with family who miss them and are hurting because they're gone," said Seeman.

She looked for ways to cope and eventually found the COVID-19 Memorial Garden in Madison.

A project months in the making was completed in August and continues to operate thanks to the City of Madison.

It's not just for locals like Seeman who is from Stanton.

"The COVID wall, for me, symbolizes that this was kind of different," said Brenda Moeller.

Moeller lives near Grand Island but has a plaque in Madison for her fiance.

"The hardest part of COVID was during that time, we couldn't be together," said Moeller.

They both hope more people learn about the memorial and take advantage of it.