a death has occurred or is expected. now what?


Please call (718) 338-8080 at any hour.

If your friend or relation has died, or is expected to die, in the care of hospice or in a New York hospital, you are generally allowed several hours in the room, after a death has occurred, to sit, meditate, listen to music and/or convene a short, intimate service while the hospital/hospice staff obtains a physician's signature for the death certificate, and you wait for the funeral director to arrive. Ask your hospital caretakers or the social worker about this. Our funeral firm will meet with you to discuss plans and complete all the biographical forms needed for the death certificate. We will also come with a rolling cot to respectfully transfer your loved one to our Brooklyn-based funeral home in preparation for a cremation or burial. (If you wish to keep the deceased at home until burial or cremation, we will charge you a supervision fee, have dry ice and a casket delivered to the residence, then help you set up any funeral or vigil service you have in mind. You may read more about home funerals here.)

We make every effort to work on your schedule, allowing you to spend time at the bedside of the deceased if that's what you wish to do, especially if you have no subsequent plans for a visitation or viewing. Whatever sort of service you decide upon, we will need the following from you for the filing of the death certificate: deceased's name, gender, most current address, birth date and place, social security number, your name, address, email and phone number, deceased's occupation in working life, education at the highest level, marital status, military service if any, name of deceased's parents with mother's maiden name included. Check out our page of useful forms to download at this time. And here's a list of meditations, funeral planning guides, and other resources that may be useful at the moment.

If a sudden, unexpected death--outside of hospice or hospital--has just occurred, you obviously must call 911. By law, your loved one may be transferred to one of the facilities of the NYC Medical Examiner. Do not panic. The people working in the medical examiner's office are both skilled and compassionate. You can inform them of any religious objections to autopsy, but oftentimes, an autopsy might be necessary. The inevitability of death, the fact that we all must die some day, does not take the sting or astonishment out of what you are now experiencing. Ask a friend or relation to keep you company. Play soothing music for yourself. Delegate to family, friends and clergy some of the phone calling and running around. You are grieving in your own way, and we will stand by you as you navigate this sacred, mysterious time all human beings have weathered since the dawn of civilization.

Those who are worn out and crushed by this mourning, let your hearts consider this:
this is the path that has existed from the time of creation and will exist forever.
Many have drunk from it and many will yet drink.
As was the first meal, so shall be the last.
May the master of comfort comfort you.
Blessed are those who comfort the mourners.

--a Jewish blessing

Here's what we do:

  • Manage arrangements with any cemetery or Green-Wood Cemetery's crematory in Brooklyn, with an effort to keep plans eco-friendly

  • Respectfully transfer the deceased from place of death

  • Bathe, shroud or dress the body with you, or at our facility

  • File for the death certificate and promptly obtain as many copies as you need

  • Suggest and secure the right funeral chapel or memorial service venue

  • Help you with a home funeral, if that's desired

  • Secure appropriate livery (limousines or SUVs)

  • Find the right casket or urn (some of which you may decorate as a family)

  • Counsel families of diverse backgrounds, mixed or blended faiths on funeral readings or liturgy

  • Help you prepare and place the death notice or digital obituary

  • Create prayer cards and funeral programs (based on your typed order of service)

  • Book the most talented NYC musicians, or cue your recorded music

  • Arrange military honors for veterans

  • Brainstorm flowers, videos, slide shows to personalize the tribute

  • Find a caterer or restaurant for your meal after the service

  • Recommend local oral historians, biographers and filmmakers to help preserve the life