New York State Funeral Directors Association

Funeral Director Michelle Kinville and daughter Danielle

It’s 2 a.m. and my oldest daughter, Allison (3 ½ years old), has just come into our bedroom for the second time.

“Mommy, I want you.”

I give in and move over, letting her crawl into our bed.

At 4 a.m., the ASD app on my phone makes a bird-tweeting sound indicating that someone has a death call.

Funeral Director Kristin Catalano and Children Maria, Frankie, Rocco and Sonny

It’s 5 a.m., the phone rings.


A robotic voice answers, “This is an alert. St. Mary’s School in Wappingers Falls is closed today due to inclement weather.”

The children appear.

Anita Freer had career goals decades ago, but she put those aside to focus on raising her family.

And, just like the late First Lady, Barbara Bush, Freer carried with her the grief of losing a young child.

Though she’d put her personal goals aside, Freer raised children and grandchildren and had no regrets by the age of 72.

When Barbara Bush passed away, she lost a role model.

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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