ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Many have experienced loss during the pandemic, but the impact stretches far beyond the home.
Pastors and funeral home directors told News 6 they’ve experienced sadness and heartbreak as the Florida Department of Health reports more COVID-19 deaths.
More than 30,000 people have died from COVID-19 in Florida since the beginning of the pandemic.
The director of Mitchell’s Funeral Home Inc. Kimberly Mitchell said this is the busiest they’ve been.
“The numbers are overwhelming, and it’s sad, it really is sad that it’s been a year and so many people have lost their lives to the pandemic,” Mitchell said.
She said the number of families they’ve had to help during the pandemic has been a noticeable increase from what they saw before.
“We have to keep our emotions inside, we cannot keep our emotions on the outside, or we would not be of help to the family,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell said she prays at the beginning of every day.
“I always ask God to help me to bless the families in their night season.”
Pastor David Jacques said he is also praying each day.
“It’s very heartbreaking; for them, it’s not just the fact that they lost someone they loved, they did not get a real opportunity to express it,” Jacques said.
Jacques is the lead pastor at The Kingdom Church. He said it’s become a place that has seen a funeral almost every weekend during the pandemic.
The space of the church allows them to accommodate more family members, Pastor Jacques said many funeral homes have reached out to him to host grieving families.
He said those families have had an impact on him.
“I heard a person say, which I thought was very sobering, a grandfather say; that hugging my grandchild is a choice I must make to determine if I’m going to live or show love.”