New York State Funeral Directors Association

A government building

The months following the death of my mother-in-law were difficult enough before an official-looking letter came in the mail, addressed to my wife.

She opened it up and just stared at the cold, bureaucratic text for a while. Her face was turning red as I asked “what’s going on?”

Mother and daughter chatting with grandfather

I am a licensed funeral director/embalmer in two states, I own a funeral home and I am a licensed grief counselor.

Oddly enough, I cannot get my father to talk to me about his preferences for funeral arrangements.

I am his oldest daughter, the one responsible for that sort of thing.

Cover of "Option B," © 2017 Knopf

You never chose this life.

It wasn’t what you signed on for. It absolutely wasn’t what you wanted, but the decision was out of your hands.

This life was foist upon you, like it or not (mostly not).

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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