A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die Reviewed By David W. Menefee of Bookpleasures.com
Reviewer David W. Menefee: David is a Pulitzer nominated American author, ghost writer, screenwriter, book editor, and film historian. David’s career began as a writer and marketing representative for the Dallas Times Herald and the Dallas Morning News. His books have appeared under various imprints and in a variety of categories, such as biography, travel, historical fiction, mysteries, and romance. Two books by David were named among the 2011 Top 10 Silent Film Books of the Year: Wally: The True Wallace Reid Story, and The Rise and Fall of Lou-Tellegen. His most recent releases include Sweet Memories and the 1950s romance trilogy, Can't Help Falling in Love, Come Away to Paradise, and Catch a Falling Star (with co-author Carol Dunitz). David lives in Dallas, Texas, USA.
Publisher: Light Tree Press (November 30, 2010)
Loved ones often die unexpectedly, and we have precious little time to prepare a funeral. Most of us feel broadsided by shock and grief, and most of us have no idea what must be done, or how to avoid being taken advantage of by funeral homes. Enter Gail Rubin and A Good Goodbye, Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die.
One look at the book’s Table of Contents and the reader quickly realizes why the book was a finalist for the Foreword Book of the Year award and won the 2011 New Mexico Book Award: chapters named “Over My Dead Body,” “I Got It At Costco,” and “It’s My Party and I’ll Die If I Want To” lead you on a step-by-step resource plan minus the morbidity.
Gail’s book provides the information, inspiration, and tools to plan and implement creative, meaningful, and memorable end-of-life rituals for people (and pets), while taking the fear out of the subject of death.
In these tough economic
times, few of us have thousands of dollars readily at hand to
provide for a loved one’s last rites, and we are equally unaware
that a funeral can be staged cost effectively. In a rush to inter,
what we need is a checklist and directives gleaned from
up-to-the-minute experience. Gail provides the how-to for the
Gail points out that we can all help our family and friends enormously by simply providing a will, as well as writing down in one place our online passwords, veteran information, place of birth, mother’s maiden name, social security numbers, location of important documents, contact and account information for trusts and bank holdings, and other matter-of-fact items. Imagine the amount of stress you can alleviate for those taking care of your cremation or funeral. Since you're not taking anything with you, leave behind the facts and file them with your trusted friend. Gail’s checklist outlines the details so you can fill in the blanks and plan ahead.
Who would have thought
that ecology has infiltrated funerals? Gail reveals that there is
such a thing nowadays as a Green Burial that returns your remains
to a natural or woodland area. You can avoid poisoning the earth
with embalming fluid toxins and carcinogens, shun metal caskets
that waste hundreds of tons of copper and bronze, have a tree
planted directly on top of your grave, and you can even use natural
stones to mark your final resting place. Gail pulls the mask from
the myths about what you can do nowadays.
Freedom should carry over to your funeral. Before they put coins over your eyes, open them to the read about the reality of home after death care. A hospital may tell your caregivers that your body can only be released to a funeral home. Gail reveals that is not true in many states. So, if you would prefer to have your body at home before the final disposition and allow family and friends to dress you as people did throughout millennia, you can allow them to enjoy the simplicity and sanctity of a home celebration of your life, while still retaining some control over what is done with the remains.
Gail provides everything
you need to know about party planning after a death, selecting a
burial location, memorial displays, photo and video montages,
creating a memorial program, selecting meaningful music, holding a
wake, informing others about a memorial service, writing obituaries
and thank you notes, and current policies on scattering ashes in
national parks. There’s even a large section on religious customs
for Christians, Buddhists, Greek Orthodox, Hindu, Islam, Judaism,
Mormon, and Native Americans. No one need be unaware of the
fundamental facts about faiths.
Gail’s “I Got It at Cosco” chapter reveals money-saving tips for minimizing funeral and burial costs. “Funerals are a huge expense in a family budget,” she writes, “and advance planning can help reduce costs. When you find out how expensive end-of-life events can be, it’s a big motivator to save where you can. There are many ways to cut costs without looking cheap.” Gail provides tips regarding veterans’ benefits, pre-need shopping around, purchasing a plot, and cremation.
Talking about sex won't
make you pregnant; reading about funerals won't make you dead. Plan
your funeral like you plan your finances, families, and retirement
with A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to
Die. Gail’s book is written in a bright, enjoyable style, uses
excellent grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure, and
provides a great read for anyone uncertain about how to create a
meaningful, memorable send-off.
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