New York State Funeral Directors Association

Playing Dead © 2016 Simon & Schuster

Your wallet is genuine, original faux-leather from faux-Venezuela.

It matches the pleather jacket you love so much and your favorite fake-silk shirt, which you like to wear when you drive the car you bought and can barely afford, but that looks great for appearances.

Life is sometimes all about pretending but, in “Playing Dead” by Elizabeth Greenwood, faking your demise isn’t quite as easy.

Dance of Death by William Harrison Ainsworth

When the Black Death swept through Europe in the 14th century, it claimed the lives of over 75 million people, many of who were clergymen whose job it was to help usher the dying into the next world.

In response to the shortage of priests, the Ars Moriendi (Art of Dying) first emerged in 1415.

This was a manual that provided practical guidance to the dying and those who attended them in their final moments.

A teddy bear with a locket containing baby Preston's ashes sits alongside Krysten Bowen's young child Ryder

Krysten Bowen isn’t a grief counselor or a bereavement expert.

But after experiencing the death of her infant child, she knows at least one thing that can help a family cope.

It’s a teddy bear - a special one - and she’s begun an effort to share the solace a family can find in crafting a personal keepsake with a lost youngster in mind.

“I’m just a mom who lived it,” Bowen said.

Video: Slaves No More

New York's Capital Region honors, re-buries Colonial-era slaves. Found by accident in an unmarked cemetery, scientists pinpointed their African origin and the community held a wake and funeral.

Video: Family History

Today, resources are becoming more widely available, giving people the ability to learn exciting stories about their ancestors. Find 14 great tips on the Blog.


SympathyNotes is written to stimulate discussion of death and grief. Opinions do not reflect the views of NYSFDA.

SympathyNotes Facebook

Connect with SympathyNotes

FB Blue    Twitter Blue

SympathyNotes is copyrighted but may be reproduced with attribution. For reprint permission, please contact