The Family Plot Blog

Before I Die New Mexico Festival Celebrates Life while Preparing for Death

Before I Die New Mexico Festival Celebrates Life while Preparing for Death

The 6th annual Before I Die New Mexico Festival is set to take place in Albuquerque from October 16 to 21, 2023. This unique and thought-provoking event aims to foster a collective exploration of life's most meaningful aspirations and encourage open conversations about mortality, dreams, and the human experience. The festival invites people to reflect on their mortality and make their plans for end-of-life issues. The Before I Die New Mexico...

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Video: Cremated Remains Placement Ceremony

Video: Cremated Remains Placement Ceremony

How can you make a ceremony to place cremated remains in an ossuary? Here's an example for a scattering service, tailored to the life and personality of Gary Mayhew. The elements of this simple scattering service include: A description of Gary's commendable virtues. A few words from his good friend Rick Berthold. A reading: You Want a Physicist to Speak at Your Funeral. Satirical music by Tom Lehrer: Poisoning Pigeons in the Park, We Will All...

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Gail Rubin Discusses Jewish Death and Funeral Traditions August 6

Gail Rubin Discusses Jewish Death and Funeral Traditions August 6

Jewish Funeral Traditions Talk August 6 Gail Rubin, Certified Thanatologist and The Doyenne of Death®, is a pioneering death educator who knows a lot about Jewish funeral traditions. She is a long-time member of the Chevra Kaddisha and the cemetery committee for Reform synagogue Congregation Albert. An award-winning speaker, she uses humor and film clips to break down resistance to planning ahead for end-of-life issues. She’s also the author of...

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Cool Skeleton and Sugar Skull Suitcases on Amazon Prime Day!

Cool Skeleton and Sugar Skull Suitcases on Amazon Prime Day!

As the Doyenne of Death®, I'm always on the lookout for items adorned with a sugar skull and or skeleton. Anything death-image related, be it cowboy boots, shirts, bags, etc. is a business expense. Today is Amazon Prime Day, and they are offering deals on lots of skull stuff. Check out these suitcases, bags and travel tags, on special today! Sugar Skull Suitcase Tags These lively little suitcase tags are made in Mexico and they are being...

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Saturday Talk at Humanist Society: Discussing Death Won’t Kill You

Saturday Talk at Humanist Society: Discussing Death Won’t Kill You

Gail Rubin will speak this Saturday to The Humanist Society of New Mexico chapter on the lively topic, "Discussing Death Won't Kill You." The event takes place on June 24, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the community room at the International District Library, 7601 Central Avenue, NE, Albuquerque, NM. The meeting is free and open to the public. Among the topics she'll discuss: Humanism and death Medical Aid in Dying (MAID) in New Mexico How to...

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Newly-Dead® The Game Tests Couples and Singles on End-of-Life Issues

Newly-Dead® The Game Tests Couples and Singles on End-of-Life Issues

Newly-Dead® The Game was conceived to help start funeral planning conversations in a fun, non-threatening way. Created in 2011 by Gail Rubin, pioneering death educator and The Doyenne of Death®, the game was initially offered only as a digital download. The game is now available as a physical product through the online stores at AGoodGoodbye.com, BeforeIDieFestivals.com, and TheGameCrafter.com for $40. Every purchase of the Newly-Dead Game...

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In-Person Death Cafe in Historic Fairview Cemetery

In-Person Death Cafe in Historic Fairview Cemetery

The Albuquerque Death Cafe offers a relaxed, confidential and safe setting to discuss death, drink tea (or your favorite beverage) and eat delicious cake or cookies. We also provide options for those avoiding gluten and added sugar. For this event, taking place on Sunday, June 11 at 3:00 p.m., we will meet in-person outdoors at Historic Fairview Cemetery! The objective of the Death Cafe is “To increase awareness of death with a view to helping...

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Retirement Living 101: What Are Your Options?

Retirement Living 101: What Are Your Options?

Knowing where to live in retirement can be one of the most critical adult decisions you’ll ever make. You have many options to consider. Every option for seniors has benefits and disadvantages. This post explores several retirement living options you can take, so you can be ready once the time to make a decision arrives. But first, it's crucial to consider the many factors in making your decision. Read on to learn more. What Are The Factors To...

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Sadness and Celebration: A Good Goodbye Funeral for David Bleicher

Sadness and Celebration: A Good Goodbye Funeral for David Bleicher

The funeral for my husband David Bleicher took place on May 3, 2023. His death was caused by multiple medical complications following prostate surgery. In three weeks, his health declined precipitously, with a heart attack, sepsis, cardiac arrest in the hospital, heart failure, and other medical challenges. I chose hospice care, which was an incredible blessing for a peaceful exit. Read about his journey and obituary here. Dave and I are...

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How I Made A Good Goodbye for David Bleicher

How I Made A Good Goodbye for David Bleicher

Since 2010, when my book A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don't Plan to Die was published, I have been advocating for people to plan ahead for end-of-life issues. And I practice what I preach. My husband David Bleicher and I have written advance medical directives and discussed them often. We did our estate plans and set up a trust. We put our funeral plans and information on file with a funeral home a decade ago and funded those...

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Organ Donation at Death: Witnessing a Walk of Honor in the Hospital

Organ Donation at Death: Witnessing a Walk of Honor in the Hospital

Organ donation saves lives, even as the donor loses theirs. April is National Donate Life Month. It's designed to encourage people to register to be organ donors and to talk to their families about it. But few people outside of hospital staff see the process in action. I've recently been spending a lot of time in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit of a local hospital. My husband had a heart attack, coded and was revived. This is heavy stuff,...

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First Before I Die Festival Tucson this Sunday, April 16

First Before I Die Festival Tucson this Sunday, April 16

The first Before I Die Tucson event takes place this Sunday, April 16, which is also National Health Care Decision Day, from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. This free event (a $5 donation is suggested) will take place at The Loft Cinema, 3233 East Speedway, Tucson, Arizona. Learn more at www.BeforeIDieAZ.com. Before I Die Tucson features insightful presentations about end-of-life decisions, with speakers, videos and door prizes. It starts with a short...

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Let’s Help Legalize Body Composting in Maryland!

Let’s Help Legalize Body Composting in Maryland!

Natural organic reduction, or NOR (a.k.a. body composting), might become legal in Maryland! It could become the seventh state to legalize natural organic reduction – but we need your help right now. Here's a video message about this from Gail Rubin, CT, The Doyenne of Death®. What is NOR/Body Composting? As you may know, natural organic reduction or NOR is the process for the final...

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Crazy Photos: Frozen Dead Guy Days Coffin Race Teams, Costumes and More

Crazy Photos: Frozen Dead Guy Days Coffin Race Teams, Costumes and More

From the 2023 Frozen Dead Guy Days Festival in Estes Park, Colorado, check out these photos of the whole crazy scene. There was lots of music, activities and generally good vibes. Planners would have been happy with 3,000 to 4,000 attendees. The event drew 6,000 to 7,000, a hugely popular turn out in this new location. Gail Rubin was there to present Newly-Dead® The Game, thanks to the company Steps After Life. Steps After Life helps families...

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Coming to Frozen Dead Guy Days: Newly-Dead® The Game

Coming to Frozen Dead Guy Days: Newly-Dead® The Game

A popular element of Frozen Dead Guy Days is coming to Estes Park, Colorado for the 2023 festival: Newly-Dead® The Game! Gail Rubin, CT, The Doyenne of Death®, who previously presented this activity in Nederland, is bringing it to the newly-relocated festival, March 17-19, 2023. Newly-Dead The Game is like the old TV game show, The Newlywed Game. Couples are quizzed on how well they know their partner’s last wishes. The four questions get...

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Body Composting Conference in Denver March 16-17: Register Now!

Body Composting Conference in Denver March 16-17: Register Now!

Everything you need to know about body composting, aka natural organic reduction (NOR), is the topic of the inaugural Body Composting Conference: Rejoining the Cycle of Life Through Natural Organic Reduction. Being organized by The Natural Funeral, the conference is bringing together visionaries, innovators and movement makers in the death positive field for two days of networking, connection and education. Mark your calendar and make your...

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How Adults Can Help Children with Grief on The Doyenne of Death Podcast

How Adults Can Help Children with Grief on The Doyenne of Death Podcast

When children experience grief, sometimes it's hard for adults to know how to help. Wade Bergner, author of The Mirror Box, has written a children's book that is designed to help families understand and cope with grief. The Mirror Box is an honest story of one boy’s journey from grief to acceptance over the death of his grandfather. He speaks with Gail Rubin, Certified Thanatologist and host of The Doyenne of Death® Podcast. Among the topics...

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Why are People Afraid of Hospice?

Why are People Afraid of Hospice?

Former President Jimmy Carter revealed on February 18 that he is going home from the hospital to live out the rest of his 98-year life on hospice. Back in 2015, when President Carter was diagnosed with metastatic skin cancer, I wrote a post encouraging him to set an example and go on hospice care. He instead pursued an experimental treatment that gave him eight more years of life. And that's okay - good for him! The news coverage over the...

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Creative Ways to Keep Valentine’s Day Objects

Creative Ways to Keep Valentine’s Day Objects

Valentine’s Day gifts are by nature sentimental. My friend Martie McNabb, CEO of Thingtide Show & Tale®, holds regular sessions where people bring objects they treasure and tell the stories behind the “thing.” Martie recently held a Valentine’s Day Show & Tales session, titled Love Letters, Lockets and Valentine's. I shared a shadow box I put together representing my parents’ long love story. It includes two Valentine’s cards from the...

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Discussing Shared Death Experiences on The Doyenne of Death Podcast

Discussing Shared Death Experiences on The Doyenne of Death Podcast

What is a Shared Death Experience? You may have heard about Near Death Experiences (NDEs), when someone's body is clinically dead for a period of time. The person's consciousness leaves the body and travels to mystical realms before returning to life in the body. A Shared Death Experience (SDE) is when a person who is not dying shares the experience of someone who is dying. William Peters, author of At Heaven's Door, talks with  @GailRubin  on...

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Celebrating the Life of Mary Woods

Celebrating the Life of Mary Woods

Mary Woods' life was celebrated with a Rosary and Vigil service at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church on Wednesday, February 1, 2023. After the Rosary is recited, about 30 minutes into this video, you can hear comments from family and friends about Mary. A Funeral Mass was held the next morning with Archbishop John C. Wester presiding. The video was recorded and edited by Gail Rubin, who writes The Family Plot Blog. Mary Woods Rosary...

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A Good Goodbye