SCHEDULE OF EVENTS  (As of October 12, 2023)

The Before I Die New Mexico Festival will take place at different locations each day in the Albuquerque metropolitan area October 16-21, 2023. The festival has entertaining and educational elements, including field trips to funeral homes and cemeteries, speakers and group discussions, comedy and games, Death Cafe conversations, and more. Selected sessions will be available online as hybrid events, with audiences participating both in-person and via Zoom (no charge for Zoom attendance). This schedule will be updated with additional details as speakers are scheduled.

Before I Die Day One: Monday, October 16, 2023

Location: Daniels Family Funeral Services – Wyoming Chapel, 7601 Wyoming Blvd. NE, ABQ

Theme: Money and Mourning

9:30 Death Café discussion and snacks

10:45 a.m. Estate Planning discussion with attorneys Jeanine Steffy, JD, CPA, and Lisa Y.W. Cosper, Sutin Thayer & Browne. (hybrid in-person/Zoom)

11:45 a.m. Lunch

1:00 p.m. Savvy Social Security with Brad Yablonsky, RBC Wealth Management (hybrid in-person/Zoom)

2:00 p.m. Wrapping Up Estate and Financial Issues with Matt Van Drimmelen, Full-Circle Aftercare. (by Zoom)

Speakers Reeves Larkin and Kivits3:00 p.m. Understanding Grief panel discussion with Genna Reeves, Ph.D., HeartLight Center; Dr. Adrienne Larkin, Ph.D. in clinical psychology specializing in children and family grief, and Mickey Kivitz, Death Education Trainer, The Grief Center. This session will dispel common misconceptions about grief, explore its various types and stages, and offer guidance on supporting grieving individuals. We’ll delve into the profound impact of grief on physical and mental health, discuss local grief support resources, and discuss how events like this festival can promote more open conversations around death, dying, and grief. This panel will help equip attendees to navigate grief with greater compassion and effectiveness. (hybrid in-person/Zoom)

4:00 p.m. Pre-Planning Your Funeral panel discussion with Mark Ballard, French Funerals & Cremations; Dana Lambe, Daniels Family Funeral Services and Renee Roberts, The Neptune Society. (hybrid in-person/Zoom)

6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Death Over Drafts – Join in “Brewing Conversations Around Death” with death doula Danielle Slupesky at Tin Can Alley, close to the Daniels Wyoming Chapel location. This event takes place at the Santa Fe Brewing Company, East Upstairs Patio, 6110 Alameda Blvd. NE, Albuquerque, NM 87113. (Buy your own beer/food)

Day Two: Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Location: Cooper Creations, 130 Quincy St. NE, ABQ

Theme: Aging and Mortality

9:30 a.m.  Newly-Dead® Bingo – join in a rousing session of word Bingo that educates while entertaining!

10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Before I Die Mortality Movie and Discussion

We’ll watch the film A Man Called Otto (PG-13, 129 minutes) and discuss loss, downsizing, grief, and recovery over lunch.

1:00 p.m. Goalposts for a Lifetime of Love – Randy and Susan Cooper have been married for 59 years and counting. In this interactive session, they will share their insights on growing your love and preparing for end-of-life issues. (hybrid in-person/Zoom)

2:00 p.m. Death Doula Panel with Danielle Slupesky, Genna Reeves, Ph.D. and Alix Peters on what death doulas do. (hybrid in-person/Zoom)

3:00 p.m. The Grace Code – Jane Westbrook, end-of-life advocate and educator, drags death out of the closet and talks about dancing with death gracefully. (hybrid in-person/Zoom)

4:00 p.m. Martie McNabb conducts a Show & Tales session – bring an object that belonged to a loved one and talk about the story behind the item and the person. (hybrid in-person/Zoom)

Day Three: Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Location: Sunset Memorial Park, 924 Menaul Blvd. NE, ABQ

Theme: Cremation and Burial

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9:00 a.m. Death Cafe discussion in the Chester T. French Memorial Mausoleum Chapel.

11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Mortuary Mall outdoors at the pavilion near the Centennial Gardens – look at and learn about caskets, urns, and other funeral products and services. You can also have a tour of the cemetery in one of Sunset Memorial Park’s golf carts!

2:00 p.m. Cremation Talk and behind-the-scenes tour starting in the Chester T. French Memorial Mausoleum Chapel.

3:30 p.m. Martie McNabb conducts a Show & Tales session – bring any object that has meaning for you and be prepared to talk about its story.

4:30 p.m. Before I Die Mortality Movie and Discussion in the Chester T. French Memorial Mausoleum Chapel.

We’ll watch the film Elizabethtown (PG-13, 123 minutes) and discuss cremation versus burial, weddings and funerals, and scattering cremated remains.

Day Four: Thursday, October 19, 2023

Location: Passages International Headquarters, 4516 Anaheim Ave. NE, ABQ

Theme: Greening Funerals

9:00 a.m. Welcome by Darren Crouch, President of Passages International and President of the Green Burial Council.

9:30 a.m. Death Cafe discussion and snacks.

11:30 a.m. Tour of Facilities and lunch in the lobby.

1:00 p.m. Green Burial Home Funeral Panel Discussion with Bryan Beard and Claire McFadyen, the owners of La Puerta Natural Burial Ground, former funeral director Liz Hamilton (now with Parting Stone) on home funerals, and Michael Garcia, Funeral Service Practitioner with Cope Memorial Chapel in Gallup on Native American funeral traditions. (hybrid in-person/Zoom)

2:00 p.m. Before I Die Mortality MovieA Will for the Woods documentary (TV-G, 93 minutes) about green burial and preparing for our mortality.

3:30 p.m. Discussion about issues raised in the movie.

6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Millennial Morticians with ABQ BrewsFemme Fatale panel discussion with young women funeral directors: Amanda Wallace-Trujillo with French Funerals & Cremations; Hannah Rourke with Daniels Funerals & Cremation; and Mayra Gonzales, Salazar Funeral Homes and Crematory.

Location: Tractor Brewing Wells Park location, 1800 4th Street NW, ABQ

Followed by a screening of the horror film, The Autopsy of Jane Doe

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Day Five: Friday, October 20, 2023

Location: French Funerals & Cremations Rio Rancho, 1275 Unser Blvd. NE, Rio Rancho 87114

Theme: Discussing Death Won’t Kill You

9:30 a.m. Before I Die Mortality Movie and Discussion

We’ll watch the Japanese film Departures (PG-13, 131 minutes) and discuss fear of encountering our dead, funeral rituals, and related topics over lunch.

1:00 p.m. Hospice Panel Discussion with Kim Montgomery, Social Worker with Bosque Trails Hospice; Katie Martin, Director of High Desert Hospice; Anna Christianson, Social Worker with Gentiva Hospice; Zandra Rise, Hospice Patient Care Manager and Jude Quintana, Hospice Volunteer Manager with Presbyterian Healthcare Services. (hybrid in-person/Zoom)

Tammy Holmes psychic medium

Tammy Holmes psychic medium

2:00 p.m. Messages from Your Loved Ones from the Other Side about the Death Process with Psychic Tammy Holmes. Psychic medium Tammy Holmes will help you understand what truly happens when you are dying. She’ll answer questions such as: What is it like leaving your physical body? What signs will you see as you start to alter realities? Why is there pain in the death cycle? Who is waiting for you to help you cross over? Where do you go once you transition? Why do some people die suddenly and others take months or years to leave? She’ll help you understand that you choose your exit point and how you die. (hybrid in-person/Zoom)

3:00 p.m. Non-Religious Memorial Services with funeral celebrants Gail Rubin, CT, ChrisTina Simek, and David Martinez. (hybrid in-person/Zoom)

4:00 p.m. “You’re Suing Me BECAUSE I kept your Mom Alive?” A discussion of the wrongful prolongation of life by Death Maven™ Althea Halchuck, CT, BCPA, EJD. An advance directive gives competent adults the right to choose their medical care, accept or reject even life-saving medical treatment, and appoint a surrogate to speak for them after they become incapacitated. If medical providers ignore the patient’s healthcare wishes, the patient or family may have a cause of action against the provider, resulting in monetary payouts. Doctors cannot override a patient’s wishes because they think they know what’s best, even if they feel they’re acting “in good faith.” It is not always better to “err on the side of life,” especially when the Advance Directive and surrogate say otherwise.  Sometimes, resuscitating a person only serves to prolong a much-wanted death and creates anguish and expense for the family. Althea Halchuck, EJD, CT, BCPA, is founder of Ending Well! Patient Advocacy, LLC, a Board Certified Patient Advocate and Professional Medical Power-of-Attorney. (by Zoom)

6:30 p.m. The Newly-Dead® Game – Couples are invited to participate in this game that tests how well they know their partner’s last wishes.

7:00 p.m. Comedian Ben Wasserman, Live After Death Show – “The world’s most chaotic comedy show about grief and loss!” Ben Wasserman has an incredibly vulnerable, hilariously funny, high-octane, interactive comedy show about death, grief and loss. We’re all going to lose someone and we’re all going to die – so why not laugh a little? ($15-18 registration at EventBrite)

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Before I Die Day Six: Saturday, October 21, 2023

Location: Historic Fairview Cemetery, 700 Yale Blvd. SE, ABQ

10:00 a.m. Outdoor Death Cafe Discussion

12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Psychic Medium Tammy Holmes speaks at Resonant Essentials, 3107 Eubank Blvd. NE, Suite 34, ABQ. Her talk is titled How To Be Your Own Best Friend: Self-Love Reflections. She will also conduct a gallery reading with the audience. This event is free and open to the public (donations welcomed).

1:00 p.m. Murder and Mayhem Tour ($50 donation to the nonprofit cemetery)

Walking tour of Historic Fairview Cemetery – wear your walking shoes! Meet some of the “permanent residents” who died as a result of murder or mayhem.

3:00 p.m. Murder and Mayhem Tour ($50 donation to the nonprofit cemetery)

Choose your registration level:

  • $20 – A token of thanks for coordinating the Festival, includes a goodie bag with A Good Goodbye DVD set.
  • $40 – Includes a T-shirt from A Good Goodbye.
  • $60 – Includes registration for comedian Ben Wasserman’s Live After Death Show.
  • $80 – Includes registration for the Murder and Mayhem Cemetery Tour.
  • $100 – Includes a copy of the book, A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die.

Register online for all events at:

Before I Die 2023 Festival Sponsors: Keeper, French, Sunset, PassagesThe 2023 Before I Die New Mexico Festival is made possible by the support of A Good Goodbye, French Funerals & Cremations, Sunset Memorial Park, Passages International, and Keeper.

For more information about the Before I Die New Mexico Festival, contact:

Gail Rubin, CT, Festival Coordinator

PH: 505-265-7215