News and Notes: Halloween and Day of the Dead

Oct 29, 2013 | 0 comments

ABQ Death Cafe SkullThis is the week for skulls and scary things as we approach Halloween on Thursday and the Day of the Dead celebrations on November 1 and 2. Before spirits can go a-haunting or our beloved departed can return to this world, someone has to die.

Hence it is highly appropriate that Create a Great Funeral Day is this Wednesday, October 30. This year is the 14th anniversary of the holiday started by Stephanie West Allen, author of Creating Your Own Funeral or Memorial Service: A Workbook. She was among the pioneering authors to create helpful funeral planning resources for the general public.

Stephanie West Allen will be on A Good Goodbye Radio on Wednesday, October 30 on The RockStar Radio Network to discuss ways to face our mortality and start the funeral planning conversation.

Also on Wednesday, I’ll be hosting the fifth Death Cafe in Albuquerque. I just did an interview this morning on our local KASA-TV show, 2 KASA Style. This Death Cafe will take place at 4:00 p.m. MT at Sheila’s Sweets, 8600 Indian School Road NE. MORE INFO

Last week I was in Austin, Texas attending the National Funeral Directors Association convention and expo. Almost 6,000 people attended from around the world. You can see reports on interesting trends spotted there at The Family Plot Blog.

On top of all this, I’m preparing to take an exam this Saturday to become a Certified Thanatologist. That’s someone who knows a lot about death, dying and bereavement. It’s a certification from the Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC). The history part is fascinating.

For example, did you know that bell ringers in the Middle Ages were highly paid because of their obituary skills? People who couldn’t read learned about the age, occupation and other details about a deceased person by how the bell was tolled. “Therefore, send not to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.” – John Donne, Meditation 17 – Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, 1624.

Top Tips from Last Week’s Radio Show

Katy Butler

Katy Butler, author of Knocking on Heaven’s Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death

Katy Butler, author of Knocking on Heaven’s Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death, discussed her family’s experience with medical interventions extending quantity of life at the expense of quality of life. A few tips for baby boomers to consider while caring for ailing parents:

  • When a medical crisis hits, slow down to consider the consequences of all proposed medical interventions.
  • Accepting death as a part of life is important. The more we fight against something, the more we suffer.
  • Funerals are helpful for mourning and moving us out of grief into a state closer to normal.
  • There is no “minor surgery” for a person over the age of 80.

Download the podcast through this link.

Last Call for Everybody Dies: Lessons from Six Feet Under

Six Feet Under OpeningLast call to attend the class Everybody Dies: Lessons from Six Feet Under. This is a three-session continuing education class I’m teaching at the University of New Mexico’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.

From 2001 to 2005, the HBO cable television series Six Feet Under took viewers behind the scenes at Fisher & Sons Funeral Home. This upbeat talk uses clips from this award-winning series to illuminate funeral planning issues for those who don’t plan to die.

Topics include funeral consumer issues, cremation, traditional and green burial, developments in the funeral industry, as well as aspects of contemporary grief and mourning.

The classes are on Mondays from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. on November 4, 11 and 18, 2013. The course number is 19183 and it costs $35. If you call by Thursday and join the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute for only $20, the class is free. Contact Maralie BeLonge with Osher at 505-277-6179 and register today!


A Good Goodbye