Two weeks ago, snow started to fall in Buffalo. This in itself isn’t really news. Buffalo is kind of known for the snow. Being situated next to a Great Lake, it’s almost like we’re asking for it. But two weeks ago it was a little different.
The Monday before the snow came, I was sitting in the office at the funeral home with my cousin, talking about our services that week.
Tuesday I didn’t leave my house. As a matter of fact, I didn’t leave Wednesday or Thursday either.
Actually, for three days I basically sat with my eyes glued to the television, watching how my community was coping. The nursing home across the street from our funeral home evacuated the residents when the roof caved in. A man was hit by a truck a street away from the funeral home as he helped a stranded vehicle.
At least thirteen people died because of the storm. And we served two of the families.
It was strange, getting these death calls. I never experienced a situation before where both the funeral home and the families were ‘snowed in’. People were patient with us, as we struggled to work with the police and local fire department to get one deceased person out of their home and into our care. Thank God for caring professionals and my dedicated staff (and 4 wheel drive.)
The other calls we received passed away in hospitals. You don’t appreciate a hospital morgue as much as you do when you have 6 feet of snow outside.
For about four days after the storm, the staff at the funeral home struggled to put the snow somewhere; anywhere, while I struggled to make it to the homes of the people who passed away. At this point, most of the families were still stuck. I climbed through piles of snow making arrangements in kitchens and collecting the outfits that the dead would wear when their loved ones would finally have a chance to say good-bye.
It was hard. But it was wonderful.
In the midst of the sadness of loosing a loved one, these families showed more compassion to our funeral home than I could have possibly imagined. Every time I’d leave a house, I’d have a widow hug me instructing me to drive safe. That’s one thing I love about Buffalo. I love how we as people can come together to support one another. And I love how when we’re hurting, we still care about our neighbors. My heart breaks for everyone who lost a loved one, especially during this storm. But my heart is also filled with pride, knowing that I live in a community that can join together to make sure our neighbors are safe, happy and healthy.
It sure was one hell of a “Snowvember”.