New York State Funeral Directors Association

Friends talk by the waterside

When we don't know what to say to someone who has suffered a loss, we may be tempted to turn to an old, worn-out cliche.

Unfortunately, in our attempt to be helpful, we may wind up saying something hurtful and leave the person feeling more pain or frustration.

The bear that started it all: Mary Kirsten crafted this teddy bear out of her late husband's shirt, and she's made hundreds for the grieving ever since.

Mary Kirsten has good days and bad days.

Since the death of her husband Ray, she calls bad ones “cliff days.”

“A smell, a sound or a song can just put you over the edge where you just fall apart,” Kirsten said.

Image from a remembrance ceremony held in honor of National MIA/POW Recognition Day at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Sept. 21, 2017. Photo by Senior Airman Jovan Banks, 509th Bomb Wing, Public Affairs, Whiteman Air Force Base.

A watchtower looms over the silhouette of a war prisoner on the flag that’s become a symbol for the day this flag joins the American Flag on the third Friday of September.

POW/MIA Recognition Day, observed in the U.S. Since 1979, serves to remember American service members held captive, missing and whose fate is unknown.

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.

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