I can remember sitting in The Herald offices four years ago when there was talk that we might have to work from home for a couple of weeks.

“Could we work remotely if we had to… it would only be for three or four weeks,” we were asked. In the end, it turned out to be months for many of us.

In the weeks prior we had been covering the rising death toll from China and watched the devastating images from Italian hospitals as Covid swept through wards and began to claim its victims.

There was still a sense of disbelief and thoughts that it wouldn’t get quite so bad in the UK and here in Scotland. However, as the first Scottish death was recorded and being warned of the likelihood of soaring numbers, we can all remember where we were when the then Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a national lockdown and the gravity of the pandemic hit us.

Read more: Covid memorial event to be held in Glasgow

And for a while there was a spirit of banding together and that we were in it together – a sense of community came to the fore and we chatted with neighbours – at a distance – on our doorsteps every Thursday night to recognise the courage and strength of those on the front line. We wore masks in stores and wiped down our groceries all to keep the virus out.

For every heartwarming story though, equally, there was one of heartbreak. Not only were families being forced apart by lockdown, some were being torn apart by the devastating loss of a loved one to Covid. The restrictions in place meant that relatives couldn’t hold a loved one’s hand in hospital or even offer a comforting hug at a funeral service limited to just a few attendees.

The Herald: Scotland's Covid Memorial, Pollok Park. Photo Colin Mearns.Scotland's Covid Memorial, Pollok Park. Photo Colin Mearns. (Image: Newsquest)

With little opportunity for support we would usually cherish during a difficult time or a place and time to grieve, it made the loss of a loved one all the harder. Robbed of our freedoms and way of life as we knew it, we were being robbed of remembrance.
However, a place was created that is there when anyone is struggling or seeking peace and reflection following the pandemic. On March 3 we will gather at the National Covid Memorial in the grounds of Pollok Country Park.

The I remember memorial was created by artist Alec Finlay, following a campaign initiated and led by The Herald and supported by a public fund. It is a series of wooden tree supports formed from human poses and to some deeply personal as they helped to create them.

The Herald: Covid artist Alec Finlay. Photo Colin Mearns.Covid artist Alec Finlay. Photo Colin Mearns. (Image: free)

The first few supports installed at the Riverside Grove in 2022 have lost their bright, clean oak appearance, but that’s ok. They have become weather-beaten, but remain sturdy and strong and are becoming part of the park’s natural environment.

I suppose the supports like many of us are on a journey. It’s not just the past four years that we have been on a journey with our readers – our history dates back to 1783 after all – but next month we’ll be there to remember with anyone who feels the time is right to join us for the national day of reflection - no matter where they are in their journey of hope and healing or remembrance and reflection.

A minute's silence will be held at 12noon on March 3 at Pollok Country Park.