Peace Chapel

Despite the challenges faced by the funeral service industry during the pandemic, its workers’ efforts to providing the last line of care have largely been unrecognized. Health care workers, grocery store employees, delivery drivers have been justifiably praised for their services over this past year, but few words were spoken in praise of this often stigmatized profession. Overwhelmed by increased deaths and at risk of exposure to the virus, funeral workers have worked without breaks for a year, attempting to maintain the same level of care offered before the pandemic. An already trying job grew more stressful, with funeral home directors – often known as the “last responders” – left explaining to grieving customers why they couldn’t mourn in person or have large, in-person gatherings to say goodbye. Caseloads also surged as the COVID death toll rose. To date, 560,000 people have perished in the U.S. alone.