With husband lost to COVID-19, Kansas widow making monument for him & other victims

HOLTON (KSNT) – A Holton widow is using art to memorialize her husband and other victims lost in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Becky Bratcher’s husband, Rocky, died from coronavirus earlier in 2021. The pair were sweethearts since they were teenagers, and had just celebrated their 42nd wedding anniversary.

“I lost my husband February 25 of this year due to COVID,” Bratcher said. “He was in the hospital for 17 days and I didn’t get to see him until the 14th day when they intubated him.”

She said she used to look at COVID-19 deaths as numbers on a screen, but the severity of the virus finally hit home when she lost Rocky.

“Dads, moms, grandparents, brothers, sisters. You know, they’re people,” Bratcher said.

After losing her other half to the pandemic, she decided to make it her mission to give names and faces to all of the other deaths in the area. Bratcher and her family are painting stones that represent each family in Holton who’s lost a loved one in the pandemic.

“Donald Redding, he liked tractors and so my daughter-in-law put a tractor in his,” Bratcher said, referencing one of the stones. “He was in the military and he was native.”

The collection of stones will go in front of a memorial in the courtyard outside of Holton Community Hospital. Bratcher’s goal is to use the monument to show others facing the same tragedy that they’re not alone. While it’s only been a few months since losing her husband, Bratcher said the creation process has been therapeutic for her too.

Anyone who wants to see the COVID-19 memorial can visit when it is officially placed Saturday at the hospital, located at 1110 Columbine Dr.

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