#Art + Culture

Meet Anne Morris, Cemetery Curator Who Comforts Families Grieving COVID-19 Losses

Anne Morris

Anne Morris is one of many personifications of the community feeling brought to the forefront by the COVID-19 pandemic. In Bengaluru, she has been volunteering her time at the Indian Christian Cemetery, Shantinagar, where she ensures a proper, dignified farewell for persons who succumbed to the virus.

However, Morris is doing more than just technical and logistical work on the graveyard. She is also coming through as a source of support and comfort for families grieving their loss, as they spend final moments with their deceased kin. At this point, a timely burial being facilitated by Morris and others seems like a privilege that many states with overpopulated crematoriums cannot afford now.

“This is also a service and I’m honoured to do my bit for victims,” she tells Times of IndiaEssentially working at an animal shelter in the city, Morris has been lending a hand at the cemetery since February this year as Karnataka sees a rise in COVID-19 cases.

23,558 daily new cases were recorded in Karnataka, as per latest data on April 21, making it rank among states most affected by this virus wave. Our COVID-19 coverage here.

Anne Morris And Other ‘Covid Warriors’ Upholding The Community During Hardship

For her selfless efforts, Anne Morris is being extensively lauded on social media. Isha Pant, IPS officer in Bengaluru, wrote responding to photos of Morris’ work on Twitter, “What COVID has brought to the front is the inherent goodness in many people… people like Anne Morris&so many other volunteers are a ray of hope fr the humankind in these challenging times.”

Through the power of social media and reporters, hundreds of positive stories such as Morris’, that may otherwise have gone unrecognised, are being brought to light.

People pushing emergency requests – for the most basic health amenities like oxygen and medicine – are relying solely on the goodness of the internet for amplification and resolution. Here are some online COVID-19 warriors who have risen to the moment.

It’s true that owing to the sheer volume of COVID-19 patients, a lot of pleas are still going unheard; pleas that our elected representatives hold the responsibility of fulfilling but the youth is having to tend to. But every community effort holds value in a period of crisis as this and adds to that of our medical frontline workers.

Even last year when the pandemic first began raging, many women like Morris had stepped up to give respectful send-offs to the dead. One of them was Pune-based Sagai Nair, who retrieved unclaimed bodies of people dead from the virus and gave them a proper burial. Read about her here. 

Feature image credit: Petlee Peter