The beautiful reason why this morgue worker is placing a daffodil on the body of every coronavirus victim
iStock

One of the most harrowing aspects of the Covid-19 crisis is the manner in which patients who succumb to the disease spend their final days.

Due to precautions to prevent spread, they often die alone, separated from family and friends.

Funerals are similarly restricted, with President Trump advising against gatherings of more than 10 people.

It is a lonely end for the majority of the 78,000 who have died from the virus in America.

However, one morgue worker is trying to bring a little dignity to those felled by Covid-19.

A New York Times report has highlighted the actions of Tanisha Brunson-Malone, a forensic technician at the Hackensack University Medical Center, New Jersey.

Brunson-Malone – who performs autopsies and co-ordinates the funeral home pick-up of patients who have died – has begun placing bright yellow daffodils on body bags belonging to Covid-19 victims.

The gesture is only seen by colleagues and funeral home workers, collecting the bodies, but Brunson-Malone believes it gives the dead back their “voice”.

“I was kind of like their voice,” the 41-year-old told theNYT, “because they were voiceless.”

Coronavirus heavily impacted the hospital, with extra refrigerated trucks brought in to enable additional morgue storage of 74 bodies.

It is there that Brunson-Malone lays her flowers, which she says she spends around $100 a week on, since coming up with the idea in mid-March.

It was something I just did out of being emotionally exhausted and depleted.

I asked my supervisor one day, late in the afternoon, ‘Do you mind if I buy flowers and place them on the body bags?’ She was like, ‘Sure, if that’s what you want to do’.

When Brunson-Malone told her local florist why she wanted the blooms, the woman began crying and told her she’d sell them at a discount.

She said, ‘I can’t deal with it — I’ll give you a percentage off.’ I don’t think she was expecting me to give her that answer.

The story has garnered an emotional response on social media.

“Thank you, Tanisha Brunson-Malone, for bringing beauty and dignity to so many and for reminding all of us of the power of simple gestures of kindness,” wrote one Twitter user.

Another said her gesture was so special because it recognised each individual lost.

Why daffodils? Brunson-Malone doesn’t specify in the report but the flower is recognised as a symbol of rebirth and new beginnings.

Which gives her gesture even more bittersweet meaning. Beautiful.

Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)