These female undertakers in Harlem, New York City have been so overwhelmed during the coronavirus crisis that they’ve been forced to turn bodies away.
Cardboard, cremation-ready coffins line the basement of International Funeral & Cremation Service, filled with dozens of bodies.
The refrigerators are full of cadavers waiting to be embalmed, pushed to the back of a very long waiting list.
With thousands dead in the New York City area, the women have been forced to turn away bodies in droves.
“I really couldn’t do anything and that broke my heart,” Jenny Adames, 36, one of the funeral directors told Reuters regarding her experience turning away a body over the phone.
“You see tons of body bags and tons of people and they’re labeled COVID-19, COVID-19, COVID-19. It’s like a horror show,” Nicole Warring, 33, another funeral director told Reuters.
The women have had to put their lives on hold in order to provide their critical services, some of them sending their children to stay with relatives.
As lockdown continues, the women have had to take extreme precautions, such as showering multiple times a day and spraying their dirty work clothes with Lysol.
Time will only tell when the demand for their service will decrease.