Drawings by RA Friedman

With Love: Messages Loved Ones Lost

Philadelphia has been dealing with multiple public health emergencies, including COVID-19 and gun violence. And the common thread that runs through both has been the sudden loss of loved ones, often without a chance to say goodbye. WithLovePhilly.com presents the opportunity for closure for those left behind, and the platform to make sure the lost stories are told.

COVID has taken more than 4,000 lives in Philadelphia. But as the number of deaths each week attributed to COVID declines, the figures related to gun violence are stubbornly high. This year alone more than 400 Philadelphians were killed, with over 2,000 more injured by bullets. Next year is likely to look the same.

Whether by COVID or by gun violence, the death of a loved one can come so suddenly that family and friends are often robbed of the chance to say goodbye. In some cases loved ones might get to briefly connect on Facetime or Zoom, or say a few words over the phone a final time. But it’s still not the same not by a longshot.

We know that nothing can make up for the cruelty of having a loved one snatched away. But we also believe that there is opportunity for individual and collective healing in releasing and sharing those final throughts and sentiments. So we launched WithLovePhilly.com to offer those who couldn’t have that in-person goodbye a chance to share what they would have said if they had been able to be by their loved one’s side.

We invite you to share that missed goodbye here.

The drawings of loved ones lost to COVID are from R.A. Friedman and his Philadellphia COVID-19 Portrait Project.

Gun violence

Makayla Myers to Jayden Lucas

Makayla Myers to Jayden Lucas

Nakisha Billa to Domonic Billa

Nakisha Billa to Domonic Billa

Kiz’mek Allison to Darnell Tyreek Wheeler

Kiz’mek Allison to Darnell Tyreek Wheeler

Dorothy Johnson-Speight to Khaaliq Jabbar Johnson

Dorothy Johnson-Speight to Khaaliq Jabbar Johnson

COVID-19

De Anna Omana a Luz Marina Mendez de Arellano

De Anna Omana a Luz Marina Mendez de Arellano

De Leity Rodriguez a Rafael Eduardo Rodriguez Pulido

De Leity Rodriguez a Rafael Eduardo Rodriguez Pulido

Jody Powers to Joseph and Carol Mason

Jody Powers to Joseph and Carol Mason

Eileen Patricia Falchetta to Eileen Frances Falchetta

Eileen Patricia Falchetta to Eileen Frances Falchetta

Barbara Whyte Felicetti to Bruce Whyte

Barbara Whyte Felicetti to Bruce Whyte

Barbara Kigozi to Joan Kigozi

Barbara Kigozi to Joan Kigozi