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A Good Goodbye Cremation Ceremony Template
Gail Rubin, The Doyenne of Death, Funeral Expert Gail Rubin, The Doyenne of Death, Funeral Expert
Albuquerque, NM
Thursday, January 8, 2015

Gail Rubin, CT, A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don't Plan to Die

When a family chooses cremation for economic reasons, very often the important element of a ritual goodbye is overlooked. Families can save money and still have a "Good Goodbye" with this ceremony template from Certified Thanatologist Gail Rubin, host and author of A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don't Plan to Die.

"This ceremony template incorporates what I call the Four R's of a Good Goodbye: Recognize the death; Remember the person; Reaffirm beliefs; and Release the spirit of the deceased," said Rubin.

The service can be as upbeat and secular or religious and somber as the family wants. If it's a secular service, a celebrant, the funeral director or a family member comfortable with public speaking can serve as the master or mistress of ceremonies. If the funeral is religious, a clergy person, preferably one who already knows the family, can preside over the service.

Components of A Good Goodbye memorial service can include:

  • Playing up to three meaningful pieces of music at the beginning, middle and end of the service – either recorded or performed live by musicians;
  • Welcoming attendees to the service and focusing on the significance of the event;
  • Reminding everyone present to silence or turn off electronic devices to maintain a sacred space for the service;
  • Introducing the person who lived and died. An obituary is often read to provide an overview of the person's life or the celebrant can prepare a life story or eulogy;
  • Telling stories about the deceased – sharing details about his or her life, death, values, passions and accomplishments. These stories can come from prepared eulogies by those close to the deceased, further stories from the celebrant and/or open comments from attendees;
  • Showing a video montage of photos set to music featuring the deceased with family and friends;
  • Stating beliefs about life, death and the afterlife, whatever the family believes to be true, is the third R, Reaffirm beliefs. This can be a tricky line to navigate, as members of a family may hold divergent beliefs, from atheists to evangelicals. See this reading by Benjamin Franklin as a possible middle ground.
  • For those families who would appreciate Bible readings, the 23rd Psalm (The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…), the 121st Psalm (I lift my eyes to the mountains…) and Ecclesiastes 3:1 (To everything there is a season…) can provide a measure of comfort.
  • Closing with a statement that sends the deceased on their way to whatever comes next, and the living to their new life without the deceased, provides the fourth R, Release. For example:

"While (name) is no longer present in physical form, he/she will live on in the hearts and minds of those present – and by carrying (name) in memory, he/she becomes immortal. Let us resolve to go forth from today's service inspired to live better lives thanks to (name's) example and dedicate ourselves to the higher causes that (name) held dear." – Funeral Celebrant Gail Rubin, CT

This service template can be used for a variety of memorial services: with or without cremated remains, as an outline for a private gathering for immediate family at home, and at ash scattering events. Those who opt to do their own home funerals can incorporate these elements as part of their Good Goodbye process prior to cremation.

Gail Rubin, CT, The Doyenne of Death®, is author of the award-winning book, A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die. Host of A Good Goodbye television series and Internet radio show, she is also a Certified Thanatologist (that's a death educator). She's a popular speaker who uses humor and films to get the end-of-life and funeral planning conversation started and provide continuing education credit classes for attorneys, doctors, nurses, social workers, hospice workers, financial planners, funeral directors and other professionals. She's a Certified Funeral Celebrant, funeral planning consultant, and insurance agent.

Rubin is a member of the Association for Death Education and Counseling, the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association, Toastmasters International and the National Speakers Association New Mexico Chapter. She is President of the Jewish-Christian Dialogue of New Mexico, helping to start conversations across religions.

Sign up for a free planning form and get weekly tips at her website, AGoodGoodbye.com.

News Media Interview Contact
Name: Gail Rubin
Group: A Good Goodbye
Dateline: Albuquerque, NM United States
Direct Phone: 505-265-7215
Cell Phone: 505-363-7514
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