New York State Funeral Directors Association

"There are no online reviews for hospices,” I said to my 79-year-old brother shortly after he announced he was stopping dialysis.

Though we knew his decision made this the first day of the rest of his life, we both laughed. Jack had been hospitalized for months with pneumonia, serious heart and kidney problems.

In his condition, I would have made the same choice.

Editor's note: Steven published this post in 2012, about two months after his mother passed away. He learned things he didn't know about her from a box of writings he found after she died, all of which he transcribed and posted on a blog as a memorial to her. See below for a link!

Sitting in my parents' living room last November, my mother, Connie, pulled a folder out of a box by her chair.

Inside the box and folders were stories, stories my mom had written over the years in her spare time or in writing classes.

I'm sure I'd seen the box or folders before, but I'd never taken the time to read through the stories it contained.

Impending Death Leaves Funeral Director Feeling Helpless

As a funeral director, I do a lot of prearrangements, meaning, I basically set up funerals for people who are still alive.

I’ve gone to people’s houses and different nursing homes to make these arrangements because sometimes people can’t get to me. It’s normal.

So I didn’t think anything of it when I got a call to make a prearrangement at a hospital last week.

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.

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

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