There are no signs in front yards hailing the men and women who sometimes wryly call themselves “last responders.”
But for funeral directors across the country, like medical professionals, this has been a year like no other.
“There is no way to explain it,” said Stephen Kemp, 61, director of Kemp Funeral Home & Cremation Services of Southfield, Michigan, which borders Detroit. “I will never forget it as long as I live. In terms of sheer volume, it was surreal.”
In a normal month, Kemp estimates, he handles arrangements for about 30 bodies. In April, said Kemp, he did 152, mostly African American men. Now, even as his monthly toll has settled to about 40, he’s seeing people with comorbid conditions succumbing to the long-term effects of the disease.
Thinking of all the chaplains, clergy, and post-death workers like my friend @elizfournier who’ve served in this relentless year of loss.
— J. Dana Trent (@jdanatrent) February 5, 2021