March 27, 2020, Pleasantville, NY– “No time is a good time to die,” said Bill Flooks, owner of Pleasantville’s Beecher Flooks Funeral Home which he has run for the last 16 years with his son Billy, Jr. “But this is not a good time at all.”
Flooks took some time out to speak with the Inside Press about the mandate to control coronavirus from spreading which limits public gatherings to ten people who must also follow social distancing rules. He commented that he and his staff are witnessing the impact among newly grieving individuals.
There are clear stages in the grieving process, Flooks explained, and they are disrupted by the new rules. “Individuals may feel they didn’t get what they wanted from the service. They are rescheduling a memorial service for a later date. He spoke of how “a wound may be reopened” to have the memorial service later, but that “many people may still wish to hold one for closure.”
With all houses of worship closed, there are mostly graveside services in which a family arranges for their own clergy to officiate at the cemetery. “Some of the cemeteries are even limiting the number of people who can come to the gravesite, even though it is outside.” Flooks added that he works with each cemetery service and will honor their rules and regulations.
He described it as “especially difficult when you have an elderly mother or father in a nursing home facility… You may not have seen them for weeks because the nursing home is on lockdown, and now they are dead. It is very upsetting.”
To date, Flooks said Beecher has held two funerals for persons with COVID-19 related deaths. “We are taking all the necessary precautions,” he said.
“First and foremost, we are helping families,” he added. “We are also being smart and careful. We have plenty of disinfectant; if we do have a gathering, we will bring in a cleaning service after the service to sanitize the building so we can keep the exposure to a minimum in case someone did have it.”
Flooks said that he and his son and his family are healthy and taking every precaution to stay so, too, and are continuing to meet the needs of those facing loss. “It’s always a challenge, always a trying time, to help people navigate through a difficult life stage and the loss of a loved one, but with COVID-19, it’s even more difficult because of all the restrictions individuals face. But we are patient. We walk them through it and give the best guidance we can.”