“Funerals are the party no one wants to plan,” said Gail Rubin, author of A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die. “The idea behind Create a Great Funeral Day is to consider how you would like to be remembered. By letting loved ones know how you’d like your life celebrated, the survivors’ experience can be so much easier.”
Create a Great Funeral Day began in 2000, started by Stephanie West Allen. She saw her husband struggling to pull together a meaningful funeral for his mother, who had left no directions before she died. Observing his grief, Allen felt that knowing what her mother-in-law might have wanted would have eased the pain of memorial service preparations.
“Confronting the idea of our own death causes uncomfortable thoughts, and rather than face the inevitability of our dying, our culture denies death,” explained Rubin. “Yet at the same time, we have this enormous celebration of scary and death-related things at Halloween”
Social psychologists cite the Terror Management Theory, that all human behavior is ultimately motivated by the fear of death. Death creates anxiety, not only because it can strike at unexpected and random moments, but because its nature is essentially unknowable.
The awareness of our own eventual death, called “mortality salience,” affects our decision-making in the face of this terror. Many people decide to avoid the topic.
“Create a Great Funeral Day prompts us to be mindful of our mortality,” said Rubin. “This self-awareness enables us to plan reflectively in advance, so we don’t leave our families to react, disorganized and stressed, after our death.”
Blue Oyster Cult’s 1976 hit song, “Don’t Fear the Reaper,” is a perennial favorite on classic rock stations. Its intended message is that love transcends the actual physical existence of the partners. The Reaper refers to the Grim Reaper, a traditional personification of death in European folklore.
A fear of funeral planning equates to fear of death. Those who hold fear in one area of their lives often have fear in other areas.
“It won’t kill you to move away from the fear of funerals,” said Rubin. “Act with love, plan ahead, and talk about what you might want. Your courage will help your family reduce stress at a time of grief, save money, and create a meaningful, memorable good goodbye.”
On Create a Great Funeral Day, don’t fear the Reaper.
Gail Rubin is a Certified Celebrant and author of A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die. Follow her “30 Funerals in 30 Days Challenge” during the month of October at http://thefamilyplot.wordpress.com/category/30-day-challenge/
Other press releases from G/R/P/R
- Funny Funeral Films Can Start Serious Conversations - November 10th, 2011
- A Good Goodbye is a New Mexico Book Awards Finalist in Five Categories - November 8th, 2011
- The Newly-Dead Game Puts the "Fun" in Funeral Planning - November 7th, 2011
- Lessons from 30 Funerals in 30 Days - November 3rd, 2011
- Unusual Funerals Chronicled on The Family Plot Blog - October 19th, 2011
Contact InformationGail Rubin
P.O. Box 36987
Albuquerque, NM 87176-6987