“You may delay but time will not.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
Millions think a basic legal will can handle their estate, funeral arrangements and post-death formalities. They’re dead wrong. Understandably, many shy away from the subject until their time comes. However, just like talking about sex can’t get a woman pregnant, Gail Rubin (known to many as “The Doyenne of Death”) is helping people realize that talking about funerals won’t actually kill them.
Gail Rubin, CT (Certified Thanatologist), is a Certified Funeral Celebrant, funeral planning consultant, TV and radio show host, and a speaker who uses humor and films to get the funeral planning conversation started. Gail, principal of A Good Goodbye:Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die, LLC, was my guest this week on the Awakening to Awareness radio show (podcast here).
Baby Boomers are also referred to as the “sandwich generation.” Not only do we need to provide for our aging parents but we also have to look after ourselves and our offspring. The truth of the matter is that any one of us could die without any warning; it’s not just those who are chronologically older who pass first. Yet how often do people find themselves in the tragic and bewildering situation of dealing with a loved one’s passing, when and where no planning was done or arrangements made. It happens too often.
A one-hour radio show can be limiting. Yet Gail shared an abundance of useful information, including matters many do not consider. We learned about the obvious need to pre-plan for end-of-life services, the costs for funerals versus cremation, how to donate bodies to science for research, four important pieces of information required to obtain a death certificate, having planning conversations while those involved are of sound mind, and how burial trends are shifting with baby boomers – toward ‘green’ burials, home-based services, and the newest choice: alkaline hydrolysis.
The possible need for long-term care and financial coverage to support that care was discussed, as was the necessity of having Advanced Directives executed/documented to reflect end-of-life preferences. Gail also discussed how weddings and funerals are similar and ways to get in touch with people to invite them to a life celebration event.
If you are interested in funeral pre-planning forms, you can download a free copy at Gail’s web site here. And for those who remember the American daytime TV show The Newlywed Game (where couples were quizzed on how much they knew about their new spouses), Gail has created The Newlydead Game (which tests how much caregivers or family members know about their loved one’s wishes – before they die). While humor helps to launch this serious topic, what is important is having these conversations now. Waiting until the inevitable, helps no one.