BrotherWhen Covid-19 raged, the post-production company W. Uden & Sons became busier than ever.
W. Uden & Sons in London usually holds 10 funerals a day during the winter. Now they have to do 15 or 16 masses, while many more bodies are waiting in hospitals and nursing homes. Bodies arrived too quickly, could not be buried or cremated, causing the facility to fill coffins with many signs reading “Careful Covid-19”.
The UK recorded a higher per capita mortality from Covid-19 than any other country. Matthew Uden, funeral home worker, said: “These are relatives of someone. They are not numbers. No matter how busy we are, we treat them equally with respect. “.
The people who worked in funeral homes played an important role in the fight against Covid-19, but were less honored than the medical staff and front line staff. The number of funerals in 2020 is up 90,000 from other years, according to the National Funeral Home Association.
“In the first month of 2021, we recorded a 30% increase in funerals compared to normal,” said Deborah Smith, a spokesman for the association.
W. Uden & Sons was established in the Victorian period, when London experienced many diseases such as cholera and smallpox. Today, the company has 7 branches in the capital and vicinity of Kent County, where a new variant of nCoV emerged.
One working day of the staff here offers rare perspectives on love and suffering, life and death during Covid-19. They have to work long hours to keep up with the schedule. When the first wave of outbreaks hit in the spring of 2020, Mr. Uden said it took the company a week to prepare a funeral. Currently, families have to wait 4 to 5 weeks.
Only in February there are 130 swarms scheduled. In it, there are “double funerals” of couples who die at the same time. Before the pandemic, there were only 9 such cases a year, but now Mr. Uden has received the same number of funerals in just one month. He said that a couple living together for 50 years passed away 19 hours apart because of Covid-19.
In the morgue of W. Uden & Sons, mummification worker Mary Evans had to wear tight protective gear. She dared not move the patient’s body of Covid-19 when it was not needed to prevent the virus from escaping into the air. Her job is to make sure the dead look as peaceful as possible.
Although they are used to the scene of birth and death, the staff cannot hold back tears. Uden cried when he remembered that a 12-year-old girl was very strong and optimistic at the funeral of her father, who died due to Covid-19. He also sees hope and resilience even though families are under blockade. People in the whole neighborhood stood silently and respectfully in front of the house when the funeral car passed.
“It touched me strongly. Even during the separation, love and warmth are still there,” says Uden.
Mai Dung (According to the Reuters)