“How do you maintain dignity for the dead in a pandemic? – The New York Times Magazine

Overwhelmed by bodies, funeral homes are struggling to fulfill their mission to grieving families.”

death dignityA chapel at Farenga Brothers Funeral Home in the Bronx that has been used to store bodies during the pandemic. Credit … Philip Montgomery for The New York Times)

Photographs by Text by 

Nick Farenga stood amid the body bags in a refrigerated 18-wheel trailer at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center in Manhattan. “This is him,” a hospital worker said, pointing to a white body bag among the roughly 40 others lying on wooden platforms that resembled hastily constructed bunk beds. As a funeral director in the Bronx, Farenga has spent two months on the front lines of Covid-19, picking up dozens of bodies. Yet somehow, until that day in late April, he had escaped the pain of retrieving the body of someone he loved. Philip Foglia was Farenga’s former Little League coach. He and his brother, Sal, played baseball with Foglia’s sons; the families lived just blocks apart; their fathers were longtime friends.

In the trailer, Farenga squatted down next to a lower platform. With his gloved hand, he pulled the double zippers down the body bag to Foglia’s waist where his hands were folded. Farenga checked his hospital ID wristband before pulling the zippers up.”

Click here to continue reading this article at The New York Times.

spanish flu memorialCredit … Caleb Kenna for The New York Times)

Related article: “Why Are There Almost No Memorials to the Flu of 1918?”

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