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House by the cemetery - Larry O. Dean

“The death rate is just so high, there’s no way we can bury or cremate them fast enough.”

“I ran out of space.”

“We wanted to grieve together, and we weren’t able to. Nothing was like it should be.”

“My stress levels just keep going up.”

“I’m looking forward to the end. That’s all I can say.”

“We’re swamped—absolutely swamped. And that’s every day, day in, day out.”

“The chambers need a break, but as fast as we cremate people, they keep coming in.”

“People are dying faster than we can get them to their final destinations.”

“I don’t know how I would have felt if I had to bury my mother under these conditions. The body goes

down to the ground alone. It’s hard for them.”

“My worst fear was that I didn’t want my mother’s body to be dumped somewhere and then I have to

look for her all over the city.”

“A lot of us were not able to see him when he passed. It was not normal.”

“I’m confident that we will have enough capacity to be able to hold people appropriately with dignity

and respect until the funeral industry can catch up.”


“This is not the sort of way that you’d expect your life to end—where you'd be stacked like cordwood

in a refrigerated trailer. It’s a haunting thing.”

“We can't hold these corpses any longer. We need to be able to process the new ones that are coming

in.”


“We don’t do this work for the dead. We do it for the living.”

“Once you see it, you can’t unsee it. You can’t unsmell it either.”

“You try to handle it in a respectful manner, so the survivors can see that their loved ones weren’t just

manhandled and thrown in a bag.”

“People have no idea this is going on. It’s like another world.”

“Everyone is at full capacity. Everyone is trying to service anybody and everyone that they can.”

“Things are very different for burials. So few people, so little ceremony.”

“Usually, the number of flowers on a grave like this would come up to our knees. But there’s no wake,

no funeral, so no flowers.”

“We try to treat everyone like they were our own family member.”



“I worked from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. We’re just getting bombarded.”

“It’s all hands on deck at this point.”

“Now it’s so impersonal, it’s like an assembly line. It’s just really sad.”

“I dug the hole, and I cried the minute I was done, like a little baby. It was a major accomplishment for

myself.”


“I can still remember driving by the cemetery and being so scared to look inside.”

“We didn’t have space in our refrigerator to hold all of them.”

“We don’t want to leave them sitting around.”

“We’re around the bodies all day, taking them from the hearse, putting them in the freezer, loading

them into the retort, doing the final processing.”

“If I involve my emotions, then I wouldn’t be able to do it. But that doesn’t mean I don’t care.”



Bio:

Larry O. Dean was born and raised in Flint, Michigan. His numerous books include Frequently Asked Questions (forthcoming 2021), Activities of Daily Living (2017), Brief Nudity (2013), Basic Cable Couplets (2012), abbrev (2011), About the Author (2011), and I Am Spam (2004). He is also an acclaimed singer-songwriter whose latest solo album is Good Grief (2015); Product Placement, the sophomore album from his band, The Injured Parties, was released August 2019. For more info, go to larryodean.com.

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