Teri’s Story

7 Tammuz 5781

My aunt Francine died four months from the day she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She was a very smart, determined, progressive woman who was involved in politics. Her husband had passed away a few years prior, and she had no children. We were close growing up, and during her illness, my husband and I helped her with whatever she needed.

One day, shortly after her devastating diagnosis, she turned to me and said, “Here are the arrangements from the chapel. After I die, just call them and have them pick me up. The rest is taken care of.”

This really threw me for a loop. I had never even heard of Jews cremating before. I was very uncomfortable with it, but the plans had been made, and when Francine passed away shortly after, I felt like I had to do what she wanted.

So her body was cremated just as she had planned. I had her ashes in my house for a year while my husband and I tried to figure out what to do with them. Eventually, we made a small ceremony and scattered them in Central Park West. And that was it.

But I wish we would’ve spoken about it prior. It bothers me that there’s no real place where Francine is. I would have liked a concrete place to connect with her. My parents were buried and I can visit them anytime. But Francine doesn’t exist anymore.

An organization like Last Kindness may have been able to prevent Francine’s cremation by giving me the information I needed to open a conversation and help her explore her options and address any hesitations she had.

Read More Personal Stories

Deborah’s Story

“Even if I don’t know all the laws and the reasons behind them, what if there’s a deeper reason? If I choose cremation, I can never go back. But how can I afford this?”

Rebel’s Story

“Our family is comforted knowing that Rebel’s final resting place is in an eco-friendly cemetery and his burial was in accordance with Jewish laws.”

Holly’s Story

“People assume cremation is more economical, environmental, and even spiritual. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. The more I learned about cremation, the more I saw that it is a violent process, and just thinking about it makes me nauseous.”

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