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5th Annual Before I Die NM Festival Schedule

In-Person and Online Events October 30-November 2, 2021

LOS ANGELES, CA, UNITED STATES, August 30, 2021 / -- The fifth annual Before I Die New Mexico Festival will include online and in-person events in Albuquerque (depending on pandemic conditions). Events for 2021 are scheduled from October 30, Create a Great Funeral Day, to November 2, All Souls Day. As in years past, the Before I Die New Mexico Festival will include:

-Panel discussions and speakers related to end-of-life issues;
-Behind-the-scenes tours of funeral homes and cemeteries;
-Entertaining sessions with film clips and live performances;
-Death Cafe discussions;

And much more!
More Festival Details Here
Videos of past festival sessions are available at this page at

Register with a small donation here.

Check out the promotional video here:


Saturday, October 30, 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
In-Person Events at Strong-Thorne Mortuary Reception Center at Daniels Family Funerals & Cremation, 1100 Coal Ave. SE

9:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Tour Strong-Thorne Mortuary, built in 1929. Conducted by Josh McManigal, Director of Operations, Park Lawn Corporation

10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. “Abraham Lincoln’s Impact on Modern Embalming” with Colby Hitchcock, CFSP, Director of New Mexico Operations, Park Lawn Corporation. This presentation will cover the history of modern embalming, which took off in the United States during the Civil War. You’ll learn how the huge number of deaths during the war, President Lincoln’s assassination, and the funeral procession that took his body across the country influenced death care in America for the following century.

11:30 to 1:00 p.m. Death Cafe conversations and lunch

1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. “Who Will Speak for You? Medical Surrogacy Questions Answered” with Althea Halchuck, EJD, CT, Final Exit’s Surrogate Consultant and Death Maven™. During this presentation, you will learn why your husband or child might not be the best choice to make end-of-life decisions for you when you can’t. Learn what personality traits to look for in choosing an effective surrogate to ensure your EOL wishes are honored. Learn language to assert your authority to honor an advance directive and practical ways to ensure a peaceful death.

3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. “How to Make an Altar Honoring Deceased Loved Ones”
You will leave this hands-on workshop with a small, take-home altar you’ve created (materials supplied). You can use it as a focal point to express grief and to honor and seek connection with your deceased beloveds. Feel free to bring photos and memorabilia. The workshop is facilitated by Annie Mattingley, author of The After Death Chronicles: True Stories of Comfort, Guidance, and Wisdom from Beyond the Veil (Hampton Roads 2017). She also facilitates workshops addressing grief and after-death communication.

October 30: Evening Virtual Event on Zoom

7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. “Not Planning to Die with The Kominsky Method,” presented by Gail Rubin, CT, The Doyenne of Death® and coordinator of the Before I Die New Mexico Festival. In this new video clip-illustrated talk, laugh and learn about planning ahead for end-of-life. All video clips come from the Netflix series, The Kominsky Method. Check out the sizzle reel about her talk here:

Sunday, October 31
In-Person Events at Strong-Thorne Mortuary Reception Center at Daniels Family Funerals & Cremation, 1100 Coal Ave. SE

9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Death Cafe Conversation

11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. “Estate Property Distribution and Downsizing" with Karen Hyatt, EstatePros LLC

12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Estate Planning with Jim Plitz, Attorney with Morris Hall PLLC

2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. “Their Stuff, Our Stories” Going through our loved one’s possessions is emotionally stressful. Join in this conversation with Show & Tales founder Martie McNabb and Karen Hyatt, founder of EstatePros.

3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. “What You Need to Know about Body and Organ/Tissue Donation” panel discussion about how to arrange for anatomical donation, questions about free cremations, and the need to have a Plan B.

Monday, November 1
Virtual Events During Day

9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. “Accessing Medical Aid in Dying in New Mexico” with Barak Wolff, MPH, Board Chair of the End of Life Options New Mexico nonprofit organization, and others. They’ll discuss the new law that supports terminally ill people’s options for a peaceful death and answer questions.

10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. “Grumpy, Cranky, Fussy: The Unspoken Symptoms of Grief” with Todd Van Beck, Funeral Educator, Consultant and Historian. Grief can take many forms. On this first day of Children’s Grief Awareness Month, learn how to recognize and react to grieving people.

12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. “The Art and Craft of Excellent Obituary Writing” with Petra Lina Orloff, founder of Beloved

1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. “Behind the Scenes in the Prep Room” with Monica Torres, LFD, LE, Desairologist & Cosmetic Reconstructive Specialist, NXT Generation Mortuary Support (pre-recorded presentation)

3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Virtual Death Cafe Conversation

November 1 Evening Event in Person
7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. “Millennial Morticians with ABQ Brews” at Tractor Brewing Wells Park location, 1800 4th St. NW. A panel of 30-something funeral directors share their views on modern undertaking and new trends in death care.

Tuesday, November 2
Virtual Events During Day

9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. “Meaningful Memorials: How to Create a Digital Legacy for a Loved One (or Yourself!)” with Mandy Benoualid, President, Keeper, Inc. Discover free digital tools and how to use them to create collaborative online memorials where family and friends can share stories, pictures, videos, tribute messages, and much more!

10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. “Don’t let your savings suffer a pre-mature death” with Steve Margulin, CPA, CFP®, Wealth Manager, Managing Member, Retirement Extender® (pre-recorded presentation)

11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Virtual Death Cafe conversation

1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. “The Woo-Woo Side of Death” with Tammy Holmes, renowned psychic, author, and speaker

3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. “The Future of Virtual Memorial Services” with Lauren Zaslansky Conner, GatheringUs

November 2 Closing Event To Be Announced

A portion of the sponsorship proceeds and ticket sales from the Before I Die NM Festival will be donated to 501(c)(3) charitable partner, Historic Fairview Cemetery, established in Albuquerque in 1881. The cemetery is the final resting place of 12,000 individuals, with remarkable stories reflecting the history of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and the United States of America. The website is

The festival is coordinated by Gail Rubin, Certified Thanatologist and the Doyenne of Death®.

Contact: Gail Rubin, CT

Phone: 505-265-7215


Aurora DeRose
Boundless Media Inc.
+1 951-870-0099
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