Things You Need To Know Before You Die

Oct 26, 2018 | 0 comments

Festival coordinator Gail Rubin with ABQ Death Cafe mascot Lola and Before I Die walls.

Festival coordinator Gail Rubin with ABQ Death Cafe mascot Lola and Before I Die walls.

Why isn’t death a trending topic? Even though humans have a 100% mortality rate, people only seem to talk about death and dying in hushed tones and behind closed doors, if they talk about it at all. Its high time death came out of the closet. If you agree, make plans to attend the Before I Die New Mexico Festival, one of the best places to openly discuss this important subject with like-minded people from all walks of life.

The second annual Before I Die New Mexico Festival will be held on October 30 – November 4, 2018. Gail Rubin, a pioneering death educator and the Doyenne of Death, is coordinating the festival and has scheduled a variety of upbeat events spread over three cities: Albuquerque, Santa, Fe, and Belen. Most of the events are free or low cost, and the festival offers something for everyone, especially those interested on learning more about how to prepare for end of life.

There will be Death Cafe conversations, cemetery tours, panel discussions, speaker presentations, parties, and more. Carl Wackerle of National Guardian Life Insurance Company (NGLIC is a Festival sponsor) is looking forward to attending the event and connecting with other participants. “Festivals/events like this allow an informal, non-threatening environment for attendees to explore this subject at their own pace and level of inquisitiveness,” said Wackerle. “It will give us ideas of what CAN be done vs. what HAS been done historically.”

Death and Dying FAQs

So what do you need to know about end of life planning and how to prepare before you die? Death care professionals like Gail Rubin, who are experts on these topics, are always ready to answer questions and there are numerous online resources with helpful information. Here are some FAQs that can help you start necessary conversations at the Before I Die Festival:


  • What’s the best way to downsize my life?
  • How do I decide what to keep and what to donate/throw away?
  • What if my kids don’t want my stuff?
  • What does it mean to “live simply?”
  • How do I deal with stress when downsizing?

BID Festival Event: Get more tips on downsizing your belongings from the “How to Downsize and Still Keep Your Family Legacy” panel discussion on November 1. Join professional organizers Hazel Thornton and Miriam Ortiz y Pino, and Karen Hyatt of Estate Pros, LLC, to learn how to get rid of clutter and keep treasured items. Event is free.

GavelEstate Planning

  • Do I need a will?
  • Who is estate planning for?
  • What is probate?
  • How do I choose an executor?
  • Do beneficiaries pay taxes on an inheritance?

BID Festival Event: Get answers to your legal and financial questions from life insurance and estate planning experts Carl Wackerle (NGLIC), Jim Plitz (Morris Hall, PLLC), and Betsy Ehrenberg (Legacy Concierge) at the BID Festival Symposium on November 3.

Funeral Pre-Planning

  • How do I plan my funeral in advance?
  • What is final expense insurance?
  • Are funeral expenses tax deductible?
  • What do funeral directors do?
  • Should I write my own obituary?

BID Festival Event: Practice your writing skills at the obituary and life celebration planning workshop on October 30 led by Aubrey Hovey of French Funerals and Cremations and Gail Rubin, Certified Funeral Celebrant. Event is free and refreshments will be provided.

Mary Sharp-Davis urn

Urn by Mary Sharp-Davis


  • How do I pre-plan a cremation?
  • Can I have a funeral service if I choose cremation?
  • What options do cemeteries offer for cremated remains?
  • What is a scattering ceremony?
  • Can you carry cremated ashes on a plane?

BID Festival Events: Find out all about the process of cremation at a behind-the-scenes tour of a cremation retort at Sunset Memorial Park on Friday, November 2 at 1:00 p.m.

Join others for a Cremated Remains Committal Service at Mt. Calvary Catholic Cemetery (Albuquerque) and Rosario Cemetery (Santa Fe) at 10:00 a.m. on November 2. This free inurnment opportunity must be pre-arranged by October 31 and remains delivered at least two days prior to the committal service.

Green Burial

  • What is “natural or green burial?”
  • Which cemeteries near me offer green funeral options?
  • Are green burials legal?
  • Where can I find an eco-friendly casket?
  • How do biodegradable urns work?

Passages logo BID Festival Event: Tour the headquarters of Passages International, the Albuquerque-based leading supplier of green funeral goods and eco-friendly natural funeral supplies on October 31. Event is free.

Part of the sponsorship proceeds from the Before I Die NM Festival will be donated to Fathers Building Futures, a nonprofit organization that empowers formerly incarcerated parents by ensuring they have the best opportunities for stability — emotionally, socially, and financially.

A Good Goodbye