Gail Rubin is a politically correct funeral crasher. Starting September 30, she will attend 30 funerals or memorial services in 30 days and write about each on The Family Plot Blog. The “30 Funerals in 30 Days Challenge” will end on October 30, the 12th annual Create a Great Funeral Day.
Rubin, the author of A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die, is a Certified Celebrant who brings light to a dark subject and helps get funeral planning conversations started.
The “30 Funerals in 30 Days Challenge” will:
- Illustrate the many creative ways people celebrate the lives of those they love.
- Help reduce a fear of talking about death – something that will happen to all of us.
- Show that funerals are a life cycle event much like a wedding, best planned more than a few days ahead of time.
“Just like the lead characters in the cult film, Harold and Maude, I’m attending funerals for people I don’t know. I intend to honor the family and the life of their loved one,” said Rubin. “This ‘30 Day Challenge’ will show there’s no need to fear having end-of-life conversations. Just as talking about sex won’t make you pregnant, talking about funerals won’t make you dead – and your family will benefit from the conversation.”
This is Rubin’s second “30 Funerals in 30 Days Challenge.” The first one ran from October 30 to November 29, 2010. She attended public events listed in the obituary pages of her local newspaper and attended both memorial services and funerals, religious and non-religious events, as well as expected and unexpected deaths.
Among the most memorable services in 2010 were two pews of Red Hat Society ladies in full regalia, a Harley Davidson motorcycle in a funeral chapel, an artist’s remembrance that featured her favorite lemon meringue pie, an AA meeting-style remembrance for an addiction counselor, and a funeral for a fallen police officer.
Create a Great Funeral Day was started in 2000 by Stephanie West Allen, a lawyer who wrote Creating Your Own Funeral or Memorial Service: A Workbook. She had watched her husband struggle to pull together a meaningful funeral for his mother, who had left no directions before she died. Observing his grief, Allen felt that knowing what her mother-in-law might have wanted would have made holding a funeral so much easier.
The idea behind Create a Great Funeral Day is to consider how you would like to be remembered. By letting those you love know how you’d like your life celebrated, the survivors’ experience can be so much easier.
Rubin’s award-winning book, A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die (Light Tree Press), was a Book of the Year Award finalist in the Family & Relationships category. The book is available in print and ebook formats at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and at AGoodGoodbye.com.