Author Gail Rubin has been reporting on 30 Funerals in 30 days. Today she is giving a guest post on this unique challenge.
Since I started going to a funeral or memorial service daily and blogging about it at The Family Plot Blog, I’ve noticed some interesting trends and learned about the lives of some amazing people.
I started my personal the “30 Funerals in 30 Days Challenge” on October 30, the 11th annual Create a Great Funeral Day, with the following goals:
- Show that funerals are a life cycle event much like a wedding, best planned more than a few days ahead of time.
- Illustrate the many creative ways people celebrate the lives of those they love.
- Help reduce a fear of talking about death – something that will happen to us all.
So far, I’ve covered 16 services and blogged about 14 of them. The deceased have ranged in age from 30 to 91 years old. A few observations:
- Cremation is definitely a rising trend. Of the 16 events to date, six had a body in a casket present. One of those was going to be cremated after the funeral. (The family used a rental casket.)
- One person’s body was donated to a medical school.
- One person’s body was being flown to another state for burial.
- One person’s body had not been recovered.
- Cell phones are a pervasive distraction at those services where no one tells the assembled to silence or turn off their devices.
At every service, I have been welcomed. No one has questioned my presence. My posts have described elements of the service, the person being honored, mentions of hymns, psalms, and songs used in the service.
Something new at The Family Plot is video blogging that started with this project. Using a FlipCamera on a tripod, after every service I record some thoughts. Some of the more memorable moments include having the hearse I was standing next to drive off in the midst of the recording, doing a report in the casket room of a funeral home, and a report standing before a cemetery statue of giant hands in prayer.
Only 14 more services to cover! I’ll be sure to report back on more.
Gail Rubin’s forthcoming book, A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die (Light Tree Press), provides the information, inspiration and tools to plan and implement creative, meaningful and memorable end-of-life rituals for people and pets. Copies may be reserved at a pre-publication discount at www.AGoodGoodbye.com.
Post by Gail Rubin
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