IT has claimed the lives of more than 7000 Scots and left families unable to say goodbye while trying to cope with their grief in unprecedented times.

And it is is not just the lives lost to covid which is taking its toll on people as more than 60,000 people have died in Scotland over the last 12 months.

Cancer charity Marie Curie estimates that this means over half a million people have been bereaved in Scotland since the pandemic began.

Read more: Join memorial garden campaign's day of remembrance for Scots covid victims

As the first anniversary of the first reported Scottish covid death and national lockdown approaches, the charity has launched a national day to remember those who have died.

The National Day of Reflection, led by the end of life charity and backed by celebrities, politicians and over 100 organisations, will take place on Tuesday, March 23.

The day, which the charity hopes will become an annual event, will see a nationwide minute of silence at 12 noon, and the nation appearing on their doorsteps at 8pm to shine a light using phones, candles, torches – signifying a beacon of remembrance and support for the millions of people that have been bereaved over the last 12 months. Prominent buildings and iconic landmarks will also light up across Scotland, such as the Kelpies, Wallace Monument and Ness Bridge.

Connie McCready in Pollok Country Park supports the memorial garden campaign after losing her fiance Jim to Covid.

Connie McCready in Pollok Country Park supports the memorial garden campaign after losing her fiance Jim to Covid.

Marie Curie is also backing The Herald's memorial garden campaign to create a fitting tribute to every Scot who has lost their lives to coronavirus. While the focal point will be in Glasgow's Pollok Country Park it is hoped there is the potential for it to have a ripple effect across Scotland.

Andrew Reeves, Principal Social Worker & Bereavement Support Lead, Marie Curie; said:

“A dedicated memorial garden for people in Scotland to go to remember people who have died is very much needed. The devastating impact of the pandemic has torn the hearts of thousands of people across the country and having a special place to visit, when it is safe to do so, is one important way of helping us find the space and time to grieve.’’

Marie Curie says the National Day of Reflection will give the nation a chance to take a ‘minute to reflect and a moment to connect’, to remember, grieve for and celebrate the life of anyone who has died during the last year and to show solidarity for the millions of people who have been bereaved. The charity is also encouraging people to reach out and connect with someone who is grieving – either by having a chat, sending a card, a message or spring flowers.

Read more: Covid memorial campaign reaches out to Scotland's artists

Marie Curie Chief Executive Matthew Reed, said: “We need to take a moment to mark the huge amount of loss we’ve seen in the past 12 months, and show support for everyone who has been bereaved – be that from covid or any other cause. Marie Curie has been supporting bereaved people as well as caring for dying people with and without coronavirus throughout the pandemic. Many people are in shock, confused, upset, angry and unable to process what has happened. But there is an overwhelming need to come together, to remember, to grieve, to celebrate. The incredible response we’ve had from individuals, organisations, businesses, schools and groups taking part in the day is testament to this.

“On 23 March, we invite everyone to join together to hold a minute’s silence at 12 noon, take a moment to reach out to someone they know is grieving, and shine a light at 8pm.”

Connie McCready, founder of Covid-19 Families Scotland which she set up on May 28 2020 after losing her fiancé to covid after 35 days in ICU, to help bereaved families, said:

“Over the last 12 months bereaved families have found it extremely difficult to grieve. Not being able to comfort our loved ones whilst in hospitals, care homes and hospices left thousands of people dying without their loved ones by their side. Not being able to say goodbye and have a normal funeral, or the physical comfort from family and friends, has a devastating impact.

“Everyone is talking about life getting back to normal when coming out of lockdown. However, for myself and many others, we are terrified our lives will never be normal again. We have lived in our bubbles for 12 months and knowing that when normality resumes our grieving process will begin is daunting.

“We had decided to ask local Councils and businesses to light up monuments and buildings on 23rd March in the colour yellow, which has become the associated colour for Covid victims, to commemorate all who have lost their lives in past 12 months.”

Momentum for Marie Curie National Day of Remembrance is growing

Momentum for Marie Curie National Day of Remembrance is growing

Marie Curie will also be hosting a series of free online talks and conversations featuring expert panels, bereaved families and celebrities throughout the afternoon of March 23, produced by the Good Grief Festival.

To find out more about the National Day of Reflection visit #DayofReflection

To donate go to The Herald memorial garden go to herald-garden-of-remembrance. You can also send donations via post to The Herald Garden of Remembrance Campaign, Herald & Times, 125 Fullarton Drive, Glasgow, G32 8FG. Keep up to date with the latest news at