I live and write on Lingít Aaní, and gratefully acknowledge the past, present and future caretakers of this beautiful place, the Jilkaat Kwaan and Jilkoot Kwaan.

Today Alaska lost our 38th and 39th residents to Covid-19, and a family, friends, neighbors, co-workers lost someone they loved. I understand the right to privacy prohibits us from knowing their names, but I don’t like that they will be remembered publicly as # 38 and #39. It seems we can do better by them, and us. Alaska is a small state, people wise. We care about each other, and are only separated by, as they say, about six degrees, if that.

I have written a lot of obituaries, some 400 or more, here in Haines since 1996. I know that our lives aren’t defined by death, and they shouldn’t be. As one mother, a friend, told me about losing her son when a fishing boat sank– he died in a minute but he lived for twenty years. Also, putting names and faces to the virus may help us to be kinder to each other about preventing its spread.

So what I’d like to propose, is that if there is a will (maybe there is not) I will volunteer to write the obituary of any Alaskan that has died of Covid-19,  and do my best to share them.

I’m thinking too, that because of these times, they would be more of a hybrid of a standard obituary and a tribute– What is it he or she  loved, and why did you love them?— If this is something you’d like me to do for you, or your family, please let me know by contacting me here, and we can go from there.