It’s a New Year: Live For Today

Jan 2, 2018 | 0 comments

Welcome to 2018. In 2017, we saw the deaths of many beloved musicians, celebrities, and notable people. Their passings remind us to make the most of every day, to live for today, as tomorrow is not promised.

It also reminds us to make our end-of-life plans while we can. Not because we’re planning to die, but because we are fully alive. As Mark Twain said, “The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.”

Coco from Pixar, Disney

‘Coco’ scene from Pixar/Disney

During the holidays, I got to the movie theater to see Coco, an animated film which beautifully illustrates the meaning behind Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead celebration that comes to the U.S. from Mexico and Central America.

As long as someone in the land of the living remembers you and has your picture on their offrenda (an in-home altar honoring your ancestors), your spirit lives on in the land of the dead. The spirits come to visit once a year, starting the evening of October 31. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll be amazed at Pixar’s spectacular animation and love this heart-warming story. You can read more about it in this post, Mexicans Celebrate Their Dead – Why Can’t Americans?

Coco - Official US Trailer

Music featured prominently in the movie, and the distinctive guitar designs in the film are now being offered by Guitar Center stores. Anyone inclined to get one for the Doyenne of Death (who does know how to play a guitar)?

News stories, recent posts at The Family Plot Blog and news of upcoming events follow. Please call me at 505-265-7215 if I can be of assistance.

Gail Rubin, CT, The Doyenne of Death®

News Coverage and Blog Posts

The Guardian: The final act of love: reclaiming the rites of modern death  The way we deal with the end of life is changing as a new generation of funeral directors give Australians more choices.

Sacramento News Review: Dead and unclaimed: Sacramento County experiences 140 percent jump in abandoned bodies  Unfortunately, this is happening all across the country.

How to Personalize a Life Celebration  Ideas galore in this video from the NFDA convention!

LoveUrns Offers New Cremation Urns and Jewelry  Another NFDA video visit, looking at new urns and cremation jewelry options.

Upcoming Events and a Quote

ABQ Death Cafe tea serviceSaturday, January 20, 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. — Albuquerque Death Cafe at Gail Rubin’s home. The objective of the Death Cafe is “To increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives.”  It’s all about an interesting, unstructured conversation – open and free-flowing with no specific agenda. Relax over some coffee or tea, some cake or cookies, and join in a group discussion to talk about what’s on your mind about mortality issues. Refreshments will be provided at this free event. Donations are gratefully accepted. RSVP to Gail[at] for address and directions.

Join the Albuquerque Death Cafe Meetup group to be kept apprised of upcoming events. Click here to go to the Meetup page.

Tuesday, February 6, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. — Death educator Gail Rubin presents the film clip-illustrated talk, Hollywood’s Visions Trips and Crowded Rooms at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UNM. The class will take place at UNM Continuing Education, South Building, 1634 University Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM  87131. Dr. David Kessler’s book Visions, Trips and Crowded Rooms opens a door to discussing death. It shares the personal stories of medical and hospice professionals who witness death. Some of the dying see remarkable visions. Some speak of going on a trip. Others see people crowding the room, some they know, others they don’t. Hollywood films provide a concrete way of looking at this phenomenon when someone dies. This talk opens the door to discussing mortality issues. Register for class 83294 for $20 at Osher’s website.

Saturday, February 17, 2:00 p.m. — “Green Burial in New Mexico” is the title of Gail Rubin’s presentation at the Rio Grande Nature Center State Park, 2901 Candelaria Road NW, Albuquerque, NM. In a high desert climate, “green” burial is actually “brown” burial. Come learn about your options for returning to the earth as naturally as possible in the Land of Enchantment.

March 9 to 11, 2018 — Frozen Dead Guy Days in Nederland, Colorado. Gail Rubin returns to this wild and wacky festival of all things dead and frozen to present The Newly-Dead Game® and the documentary “Grandpa’s in the TUFF Shed.” It tells the story of how the Frozen Dead Guy came to be kept on dry ice in a shed and the start of this unique festival. Learn more at

Sponsors: would you like to connect with the thousands of people who attend Frozen Dead Guy Days and are not afraid to laugh in the face of death? Contact Gail Rubin at 505-265-7215 to discuss opportunities for the 2018 festival!

“Today is a new day. You will get out of it just what you put into it… If you have made mistakes, even serious mistakes, there is always another chance for you… for this thing that we call ‘failure’ is not the falling down, but the staying down.” — Mary Pickford

A Good Goodbye