Social distancing rules slowing grieving process, funeral director says

Social Distancing making funeral arrangements difficult

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Funeral directors across the metro area are having difficult conversations with families hoping to gather to remember their loved ones.

“It’s different,” Boyd Mothe Jr., funeral director at Mothe Funeral Homes said. “It’s very different. And people are trying to come to terms with it while they’re experiencing this terrible grief.”

Because of social distancing rules, families can’t have second lines, visitations, or service with more than 10 people.

"Families are having to go through this basically alone," Mothe said.

Hospitals, coroner’s offices, and funeral homes say they’re overwhelmed. A proclamation from the governor requests all burials for coronavirus deaths be done within three days.

"Funeral homes have a problem with storage,” Mothe said. “We don't have unlimited storage."

Jefferson Parish Coroner Gerry Cvitanovich says his office has also reached storage capacity. "We had to procure a refrigerated storage unit to assist us with holding bodies," he said.

"Some of the funeral homes are having to rent refrigerated trucks because the families are unwilling to move the disposition forward," said Mothe.

Under these circumstances, Mothe says he doesn’t think families are able to properly grieve.

“They’re not praying in church and finding peace, it’s prayers at a gravesite,” Mothe said. “They don’t have the family, the community to hug and to talk to them and share the stories and the memories.”

Mothe says during these difficult times, a call can go a long way for a grieving family.

“I can’t tell you how important it is for the community to reach out to these families. FaceTime them. Call them. Tell them that you support them,” Mothe said. “The community needs that more than ever."

Copyright 2020 WVUE. All rights reserved.