I’ve just read a very sad story from a funeral director in Chicago who said that white families are being given two weeks to contract with a funeral home to care for their loved one, whereas black families are being given a matter of hours.
Not all of us have the luxury of knowing that we’re going to have a need for things like funeral arrangements and legal documents and financial arrangements. By making them in advance, things are there when you need them, so that when a death unexpectedly occurs, as it did in this scenario, you’re protected.
So now this funeral director is in this place where he’s horribly backed up, but he’s got to find some way to do something for this man, to give him an opportunity to say goodbye to his only family member, who he can’t even believe is gone because he hasn’t seen him in weeks.
He hasn’t seen his son in weeks thanks to the isolation that’s in place, and he’s beside himself he doesn’t know what to do. And you will not believe the lengths that this funeral director went to, to care for this man.
So this gentleman and his son come in and this gentleman is not happy. He is not happy to be talking about his death and his funeral, he’s not happy to be in a situation where he is selling his home in order to go into a nursing home.
You know they seem like not a big deal, but the truth is that the act of putting those boards together as a family- going through pictures, and sharing with younger members of the family photos they’ve never seen before, telling them stories and family history that they were unaware of, older members of the family being distracted for a few minutes, and sharing the tales of their glory days is a really beautiful part of the grieving process.
Whatever your experience has been, I want to hear your story so send me an email or comment. I would be honored if you would share your story.
It feels overwhelming, it feels like we’re all alone, but it’s probably important to know that there are good people out there and they notice what you’re doing.
This time of year New York City typically deals with between 150 to 200 deaths per day. At the peak of this pandemic New York was experiencing over 800 deaths per day just in hospitals alone. That doesn’t even count people who passed away in nursing homes or at home.