October 30, 2012 is the 13th annual Create a Great Funeral Day. Notwithstanding the super storm currently hammering the East Coast at the moment, this is an opportune time to start a funeral planning conversation.
It’s appropriate that Create a Great Funeral Day comes right before Halloween and the Day of the Dead celebration. Before ghosts can go a-haunting and spirits of the deceased can be celebrated, someone’s gotta die.
The idea behind Create a Great Funeral Day is to consider how you would like to be remembered. By letting loved ones know how you’d like your life celebrated, the survivors’ experience can be so much easier.
Create a Great Funeral Day began in 2000, started by Stephanie West Allen. She saw her husband struggling 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 eased the pain of memorial service preparations. As a result, She authored Creating Your Own Funeral or Memorial Service: A Workbook.
Create a Great Funeral Day prompts us to be mindful of our mortality. This self-awareness enables us to plan reflectively in advance, so we don’t leave our families to react, disorganized and stressed, after our death.
I’ll be doing two broadcast interviews tomorrow to discuss funeral planning, how to create a Day of the Dead altar or offrenda, and the second Death Cafe in Albuquerque on November 7 (right after Election Day). Between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. MT, watch KASA-TV’s New Mexico Style program on Channel 2.
Then at 9:05 a.m., tune in to “Writer’s Block” on KFUN/KLVF-FM in Las Vegas, New Mexico. I’ll be speaking with host Sharon Vander Meer about A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die.
Blue Öyster Cult’s 1976 hit song, “Don’t Fear the Reaper,” is a perennial favorite on classic rock stations. Its intended message is that love transcends the actual physical existence of the partners. The Reaper refers to the Grim Reaper, a traditional personification of death in European folklore.
A fear of funeral planning equates to fear of death. Those who hold fear in one area of their lives often have fear in other areas. It won’t kill you to move away from the fear of funerals.
Act with love, plan ahead, and talk about what you might want. Your courage will help your family reduce stress at a time of grief, save money, and create a meaningful, memorable “good goodbye.”
On this 13th annual Create a Great Funeral Day, don’t fear the Reaper.