TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – These are difficult times for so many, especially funeral directors. They see the devastation COVID-19 can cause, and they see it up close and personal.
Wayne Bright says Florida funeral directors are trying their very best right now, working around the clock, seven days a week. He is also quick to point out, there’s simply not enough time or space to bury every victim of this virus.
When asked how he would describe COVID-19 in one word, Bright paused briefly. With a heavy sigh, he said, “damaging, that’s the best word, it just damages everything.”
For more than four decades, Wayne has worked with families in their time of need. He says he always wanted to help others and being a funeral director allows him to do just that.
It is his calling, spending nearly two decades at Wilson Funeral Home in Tampa.
This new wave of the pandemic, he explained, has been much worse than the first, taking lives faster – many of them from younger age groups.
He sees COVID-19 in a way most people never will. He says he’s buried multiple family members of the same family in just two weeks time.
The days are difficult, he admitted, pointing out a recent Friday as an example when he buried two of his friends on the same day.
“It was devastating, last Friday it was a very difficult day. It was devastating, and I still had to serve other families. It was really difficult, really difficult,” he said.
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COVID-19 has claimed so many victims that many funeral directors maintain there are not enough hours in the day to schedule all the services.
Bright says he’s heartbroken, forced to tell relatives, they cannot bury their loved ones for at least two weeks.
He added that the situation is so dire right now many cemeteries are unable to accommodate any more services with so many funerals back to back every day.
“I have services scheduled for next week. I have a service schedule for the week after that. If someone wanted services this week, I would not be able to accommodate that,” he said.
Bright says he has 11 funerals scheduled in the next three days.