What is it like to be a funeral director in the epicenter of a pandemic? This week we sat down with Sherry Bensimon, a New York and New Jersey state licensed funeral director, to hear her story of how COVID-19 is impacting her work and home life. Sherry has given her life to taking care of the dead in all possible ways. From the time she was sixteen, she was a member of the chevra kadisha, a Jewish holy burial group made up of volunteers from the congregation who wash and shroud the deceased to prepare them for burial.
Sherry describes how difficult it has been for her to do her job during this pandemic, “These people died alone and they are being buried alone. A lot of cemeteries are only allowing 3-8 people to be there. At least I’m there, but the people that should have been there are not. They’re not being given the love and respect they deserve. That is emotionally the hardest for me. How do you tell a family well sorry but your cemetery will only allow 3 people?”
Additional Links: Sherry serves on the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP): New York City Chapter, “I’m part of a wonderful, active, caring board. Our Director, Amy is tireless and focused. AFSP has real scientists doing real research on contributors to suicide and how to go about Suicide Prevention.”
Metropolitan Funeral Directors Association serves as the advocate for funeral directors, and the families they serve, in all five boroughs of New York City and the surrounding areas.
Read more about Sherry's story and suggested quick self care activities from the Playing to Live clinical team inspired by her story on our blog.
Do you know someone working on the front lines of the COVID-19 response? We want to hear from them. Please connect us with them by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And finally, please subscribe to our podcast, give us a rating, leave a comment, and share the podcast with others who you think may enjoy it. We need your help to share this important story.
A special thanks to Sherry for her time. Thanks to Josh Carter for the theme music, find more at https://prettylittlegoat.com, and to Lindsay Bingaman for writing our blog.