“Talking about sex won’t make you pregnant, and talking about funerals won’t make you dead,” says Gail Rubin, a Certified Thanatologist and coordinator of the second annual Before I Die New Mexico Festival. One of many such festivals held around the world, the Before I Die NM Festival is a series of fun and interesting events organized to spur ongoing conversations about death and dying. The festival focuses on end-of-life topics and helps participants learn what to expect when the time comes.

After all, we’re all going to die one day so why not find out how to plan for the end and have some fun at the same time?

Get Going on End-Of-Life

The first Before I Die festival was held in Cardiff, Wales in 2013 and its success spawned similar events in the UK, Australia, and United States. There is a growing social interest in death awareness around the world and people are interested in finding out what a “good death” looks like. As more and more families talk about the traumatic experience of watching their loved ones pass away and wishing that things could have gone differently, there is a new drive towards funeral planning and making arrangements in advance. Attending a Before I Die Festival allows people to think about, talk about, and do something about their impending mortality in a creative and upbeat space.

Discussing end-of-life matters and the importance of pre-planning a funeral needs to be a conversation that happens before a person dies. Not only does it provide peace of mind for all involved, but taking the steps to arrange your funeral service in advance gets your affairs in order and can save you money on final expense costs. The subject of death and dying need to be brought out into the open, if only so that people can understand what options are available for personalizing their funeral or cremation service. Attending the Before I Die NM Festival can help you get started on this very necessary task.

Historic Fairview Cemetery Tour

2017 Historic Fairview Cemetery Tour

2018 Before I Die Festival Events

The second annual Before I Die Festival will be held October 30 to November 4, 2018 in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Belen, New Mexico. Last year’s festival in Albuquerque drew 600 participants to over 20 different events, including a popular tour of the medical investigator’s office and a panel discussion by funeral directors on “What You Need To Know Before You Go.” The 2018 Before I Die NM Festival promises to live up to its predecessor with even more free or low cost events spread over three cities, including:

  • A Halloween/Dia de los Muertos party in Sunset Memorial Park.
  • Guided tours of the Office of the Medical Investigator and local cemeteries.
  • All Souls Day Cremated Remains Committal Service – free events at Mt. Calvary Cemetery and Rosario Cemetery.
  • Death Cafe talks – candid conversations about death and dying.
  • Movies at the Guild Cinema in Albuquerque.
  • A Yoga for Grief class.
  • A tour of the casket-making workshop at Fathers Building Futures.
  • Festival Symposium – speakers, panel discussions and films on end-of-life issues and funeral planning.
  • South Valley Dia de los Muertos Marigold Parade and Festival.
Fathers Building Futures workshop tour

2017 Fathers Building Futures workshop tour

Find the full schedule of events online at www.BeforeIDieNM.com or via Whova, the event app. Download Whova (password: newmexico) to access festival information and network with other participants.

A Good Goodbye

Gail Rubin, also known as the Doyenne of Death®, planned the 2017 Before I Die Albuquerque Festival and this year has expanded the festival into three cities (Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Belen). Rubin manages A Good Goodbye, a company which provides funeral planning services “for those who don’t plan to die.” In addition to writing books on end-of-life issues and how to create meaningful and memorable end-of-life ceremonies for people and pets, Rubin is also a celebrant, a public speaker, and a death educator.

Planning the Before I Die NM Festival is just one of the ways Rubin is drawing attention to our impending mortality by providing a platform for people to come together and discuss death; a milestone in life that we all share. Some of the other sponsors for the New Mexico festival include:

    • EternityGardens.com – an online listing for families looking for a final resting place for their loved one’s cremated remains.
    • National Guardian Life Insurance Company – NGL provides preneed and individual life and group insurance products.
    • French Funerals and Cremations – the largest and oldest family-owned funeral service company in Albuquerque, NM
    • Estate Pros, LLC – professional and confidential assistance for the dispersal of personal possessions from a loved one due to a move, illness or death. ​​​​​
    • Morris Hall PLLC – Morris Hall specializes in estate planning, trust administration, and asset protection.
    • Legacy Concierge – Legacy Concierge helps fiduciaries, executors, and estate administrators prevent identity theft by securing digital access to online accounts of the deceased.
    • Passages International, Inc. – a leading provider of environmentally-friendly funeral options for burial and cremated remains.
    • Zia Trust, Inc. – a leading independent trust company that helps families manage estate and trust matters.

Part of the sponsorship proceeds from the 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.

Get your tickets now for the Before I Die NM Festival at www.BeforeIDieNM.com. We look forward to seeing you in New Mexico October 30 – November 4, 2018!