Planning for your death can seem strange, creepy and, in some cultures, is actually taboo.
But for others, facing and planning for death is comforting and a way to ease what is inevitable for the loved ones left behind.
The Before I Die New Mexico Festival, a growing social movement on how to manage death, is coming to Taos for the first time on Nov. 3-4. The free festival begins with a Death Café on Sunday (Nov. 4). A full day of events is planned Monday (Nov. 4) at DeVargas Funeral Home on Paseo del Pueblo Sur. Workshops and activities are designed to help people discuss end-of-life issues and encourages planning ahead for our mortality.
Similar events are also scheduled in Española, Santa Fe and Albuquerque Nov. 3-10.
Find the schedule of festival activities and register online at BeforeIDieNM.com.
Schedule of events:
Sunday (Nov. 3), 6 to 8 p.m. First monthly series of Taos Death Café, co-hosted by Wendy Shuey, end-of-life doula, death café U.S. pioneer Gail Rubin and Rev. Susan Varon. Savory and sweet snacks will be offered. Held at Golden Willow, 412 Sipapu Road in Taos. For information, call (213) 999-3790.
The following events take place at DeVargas Funeral Home, 1520 Paseo del Pueblo Sur in Taos:
Monday (Nov. 4), 10 a.m. Play the Newly Dead Game, created by Gail Rubin, certified thanatologist. She will also present "Lessons on Grief and Mourning in Cartoons."
11:30 a.m. to noon Mortuary tour of DeVargas Funeral Home
Noon to 1:00 p.m. Q&A with a funeral director - lunch will be provided.
1:15 to 2:15 p.m. Planning workshop - An introduction to advance health care directives and The Conversation Project by Jan Wilson.
2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Concurrent workshops - Daniel Gaillour speaks on aging in place, Jan Wilson conducts a hands-on workshop preparing advance medical directives.
3:45 to 4:45 p.m. The Benefits of Writing Letters to the Dead - Annie Mattingley, author of The After Death Chronicles.
For more information, call DeVargas Funeral Home at (575) 300-5288.
Festival sponsors include death educator Gail Rubin, several funeral homes, Morris Trust, the Green Burial Council and Passages International.
Part of the sponsorship proceeds from Before I Die New Mexico are donated to the nonprofit Fathers Building Futures, which provides on-the-job training to formerly incarcerated fathers to reduce recidivism. They make biodegradable and kosher caskets, urns and other wood products.