The Before I Die NM Festival Symposium fosters reflection about how we address death and dying. By providing space and opportunities to openly discuss end-of-life issues, we can improve the number of those who plan ahead and take actions to address our mortality. These actions can reduce stress and conflict, save money, and help grieving individuals better navigate the mourning process.

The Festival Symposium on Saturday, November 3 will take place at the University of New Mexico’s Continuing Education Center, North Building, 1634 University Blvd. NE, Albuquerque, NM. This event is co-sponsored by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UNM. Speakers will present in the Auditorium. Lunch and snacks will be available in the B&C Classrooms, where sponsors and vendors will have tables with information and offerings.

The fees to attend the symposium are $39 for the full day, including lunch, or $20 for a half day (no lunch). Attendees can register for the symposium online through Osher Lifelong Learning Institute or through this link.

All Festival and Symposium attendees can enter a drawing to win two side-by-side burial plots at La Puerta Natural Burial Ground and other prizes.

Before I Die Festival Symposium Schedule

8:00 a.m.  Welcome by Festival Coordinator Gail Rubin, CT

8:15 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. “Buried Treasures: Famous and Unusual Gravesites in New Mexico History” Historian, author and professor Richard Melzer, PhD, provides fascinating stories behind the final resting places of both famous and infamous New Mexicans. He will sign copies of his book afterward.

9:15 a.m. Break refreshments in Classrooms B&C

9:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. Panel discussion “Getting a Green Burial in New Mexico” with Linda Canyon, La Puerta Natural Burial Ground, Darren Crouch, Passages International, Emet Maya’an, Fathers Building Futures, and Darrell Hill,

10:45 a.m. Break refreshments in Classrooms B&C

Living While Dying11:00 a.m. to 11:45 Film: Living While Dying, by Cathy Zheutlin. In a world that sees death as something to vanquish, this 45-minute documentary presents an alternative: people living with terminal illness who greet the inevitable with courage, humor, creativity and acceptance.

11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Lunch in Classrooms B&C, with time to discuss topics with fellow attendees and interact with Festival vendors and sponsors.

1:00 p.m. to 1:50 p.m. Panel discussion “Near Death Experiences and End of Life Visions”

(Ten-minute break)

2:00 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. Panel discussion on legal and financial issues with Carl Wackerle, NGL, Jim Plitz, attorney and partner, Morris Hall, PLLC, and Betsy Ehrenberg, Legacy Concierge.

2:45 p.m.  Break refreshments in Classrooms B&C

3:00 p.m. to 3:50 p.m. Panel discussion “How to Reach a Gentle Death in New Mexico” with Libby Hopkins, hospice and palliative care nurse; Revathi Davidson, retired hospice/healthcare administrator; and Keith Julian, advocate for the End-of-Life Options movement.

(Ten-minute break)

4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Panel discussion with local funeral directors taking your questions. Panelists include Apollo Miller, French Funerals & Cremations; Gloria Salazar, Salazar Funeral Homes & Crematory; and Jody Herrington, Daniels Family Funeral Services. 

5:00 p.m. Symposium ends

Register for the Symposium here!