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Ohioans Are Dealing With COVID-19 Pandemic In Unique And Creative Ways

Madison McHugh McGraw and Grant McGraw greet guests in parking lot

Social distancing and the stay-at-home order have caused a lot of people to change their plans. But some tenacious Ohioans aren’t letting the pandemic get in their way. And they are getting creative about finding alternatives.  

While many springtime weddings have been postponed, some couples have gone through with their plans after making modifications. In fact, Columbus residents Madison McHugh and Grant McGraw decided to move theirs up a bit.

“We had originally planned for a May 9th wedding and we had invited 250 people and so it was totally different than what we had been planning for the last year but it ended up being better than what we could have imagined. It was a lot more intimate, smaller, a lot less stressful so overall, I’m super happy with how everything turned out. I’m happy that we moved it up and did it this way," Madison McHugh McGraw says.

Instead of a flower girl, Grant McGraw’s best friends spread those petals like men who had entered a money machine.

Credit Madison McHugh McGraw

And in lieu of a traditional reception, their friends gathered under with social distance in the parking lot of the Delaware County church where they married.

On the other end of life celebrations, funerals cannot be delayed but they are being modified as well. In Jeromesville, near Ashland, more than 50 of Bill Cameron’s fellow farmers led the tractor processional from the funeral home to the cemetery.

And in Springdale, the community still was able to come together to honor Police Officer Kaia Grant, who was killed in the line of duty on March 30th.

Some people are considering holding memorials later, but that can bring back the initial shock and pain of the loss. 

Melissa Sullivan, Ohio Funeral Directors Associtation
Credit Jo Ingles
Melissa Sullivan, Ohio Funeral Directors Association

Melissa Sullivan, the executive director of the Ohio Funeral Directors Association, says funeral directors and their communities are coming up with unique ways to express their grief.

"Another way I heard was there was a portico, a protected area of the funeral home where the family could step out and have visitors actually stay in their cars to pull up and offer their condolences from the safety of their vehicle," Sullivan says.

But it’s still difficult to not have a chance to say goodbye publicly. 

It seems like every day, neighbors are reaching out and connecting in big and small ways by putting up artwork, painting windows and sidewalks, and even holding driveway concerts, including one featuring retired Ohio Public Radio and TV Bureau Chief Bill Cohen.

Bill Cohen plays for his neighbors
Credit Randi Cohen via Facebook
Bill Cohen plays for his neighbors

Some of these new online activities are popular and might become permanent parts of Ohio’s new normal when the COVID19 pandemic is over.

Contact Jo Ingles at
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