Funeral homes continue to help families grieve as homicide numbers climb

For funeral home workers, especially those called on time and time again, say it's an emotional journey.
Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 11:23 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - This year in Charlotte, homicides have made the headlines it seems every day.

One of the first calls after a homicide is often to a funeral home.

They’re the people trusted to make sure loved ones are ready for their final resting place. But the violence is one everyone hopes comes to an end.

“Oh god, there’s another way,” said Simone Richmond.

Simone Richmond is the vice president at Richmond Funeral Home, located on Beatties Ford Road.

This past year, homicides and violent crimes have played the Grim Reaper.

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“We’re doing five to 10 bodies a week,” Richmond said.

“How many families tell you he/she were murdered?” WBTV asked.

“At least half, at least half,” she replied.

She has also been a been a shoulder for families to cry on.

“It’s a never ending job. It’s not really a job. It’s almost a task like you have to do it. You have to help carry them through the loss. They don’t understand the loss or even the magnitude of it. So you have to help carry them through the loss and even after the loss,” she said. “As the funeral home we still have to stay in contact because now these families are in need of grief counseling. They don’t understand why the death occurred. It was unnecessary. It was sudden, it was unplanned. So they need help behind moving on past the death.”

When talking about a personal story involving a friend, Richmond became emotional.

The effects of the job and violent crime have taken a toll, she says.

“I’ve been doing this for 30 years. I gotta take a break. Because it has an effect on me, long term effect,” Richmond says.

As the homicide numbers continue to climb, she posed an idea to make people see the effect front and center.

“Maybe we should line up caskets for a week of the number of homicides and deaths for that week. And just let people actually see because if you don’t see the numbers, you can’t digest the magnitude of the loss,” she said.

The funeral home business is one everyone might lean on at some point, but it’s one Richmond hopes you never have to unexpectedly call.

“The business that I want is to be able to help someone when death occurs to be able to get past it. But you can’t explain a sudden loss like that,” she said.

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