Today we’d like to introduce you to Amy Pickard.
Amy, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I was living a happy bohemian life as a freelance TV producer/indie filmmaker/broadcaster when my mom died unexpectedly in 2012. I was completely overwhelmed with all of the ‘death duties’ or tasks that needed handling after she died. My mom didn’t prepare for death because she was only 67 and like most people, she felt she had plenty of time to get organized. I unfortunately paid the price by having to figure everything out by myself. I was forced to become a detective trying to discover email passwords, online accounts for bills, banking information, questions about her mortgage, job and body disposition. When you’re grieving the person who loves you the most, you just want Jason Momoa to platonically spoon you and tell you it’s all going to be okay. There is very little energy to dedicate to these tasks on top of planning a funeral (which is like planning a wedding with only a few weeks notice). Almost all of the nightmare I went through was preventable and so, I decided to create my company and try to give people a heads up on what they can expect to encounter when someone dies. There was no instruction manual to make the aftermath easier, so I wrote one!
I have worked in the entertainment business since I was 15, so naturally, I wanted my company to reach people through popular culture. Armed with a new cosmic calling, I thought it would be best to use a sense of humor, social media and a rock and roll death-themed soundtrack to get the Good To Go! message across. I wanted to guide people through their advance planning paperwork in a party atmosphere with pot luck dishes and cocktails and target people who are young and healthy because most people feel advance planning or ‘end of life’ planning is for the elderly or terminally ill. I’m trying to help people face their worst-case scenario and have fun doing it.
For example, I’m in my 40’s, healthy, single, no kids or husband. I don’t own a home, so you’d think I wouldn’t need any type of will or instructions for my loved ones, but if something happened to me, someone has to go into my apt and clean it out! How do they get in? How do they figure out who my landlord is? What do I want doing with my Paul McCartney autograph? How would they know if I had a storage space? Good To Go! covers all the frustrating details no one tells you about. By sharing my story and frustrations, I’ve been able to connect with people and help them talk about their mortality as well as putting together a plan in case of emergency. We put more thought into building our own burrito than we do planning for our own death! I’m trying to change that. My clients range from 20 somethings to 83 year-olds.
No one else is doing what I do. There was no blueprint, so I just follow my gut instinct. Forging a path is hard because not everyone is going to embrace new ways of thinking about death, but I know that people need the information that Good To Go! offers, so I’m continually inspired to change the cultural narrative. And booze also helps.
Has it been a smooth road?
Creating Good To Go! was an incredibly difficult process due to the fact that I was in the wilderness of grief in the early days of trying to build my company. When I was grieving, I longed to be carried around like Cleopatra. It was as if I was a grief zombie. Everything felt difficult and heavy. But I think the biggest struggle has been the fact that my business is about everyone’s worst-case scenario: death. I know I’m trying to convince people of the peace they don’t know they’re going to need, but I’m determined to keep going because sooner or later, people will understand that advance planning won’t kill you! And guess what? Whether it’s your goldfish or Grandma, the Grim Reaper will visit you and your loved ones eventually. Isn’t it best to be prepared?
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Good To Go! – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
With Good To Go!, I guide people through their advance planning paperwork: A Departure File which includes a booklet that I wrote that is considered a ‘cosmic instruction manual’ for loved ones and a Living Will. People can either host a G2G! party or if a party isn’t their style, I do private one on one consultations via phone or video conference. What I’m known for is the G2G! parties or ‘Death Tupperware Parties’.
I think what sets Good To Go! apart from other advance planning companies would be the fact that I’m primarily targeting young and healthy people. Of course, I’ve had terminally ill clients and elderly clients, but the majority of clients are from 25-65 years old. I also use a sense of humor, which is surprising since my whole business is about planning for death. Another thing that sets G2G! apart is that I’m trying to reach people through popular culture and sharing my personal story, makes G2G! unique. The content of the Departure File is also unique in that it covers everything a traditional will wouldn’t cover (bills, passwords, etc.) and focuses on daily logistics as well as sharing your personal history of joy.
The thing I am most proud of as a company is that Good To Go! is literally transmuting energy and making the grieving process easier. When loved ones are left to wing it and just figure out the death duties, they are stressed, exhausted, confused and perhaps fighting with loved ones over what needs to be done and wondering if they made the right choice. G2G! transmutes all that energy into peace, certainty, and ease. Good To Go! makes the grieving process easier and allows loved ones the emotional space they need to focus on their departed loved one and the love they shared. G2G! also gives the person completing the paperwork peace in knowing they’re not leaving a mess behind for anyone.
What sets G2G! apart from others? I think its creativity and accessibility. I’m just a girl from Ohio, standing in front of Los Angeles, asking them to think about their advance planning. People can relate to that. Yes, I help people plan for their death, but it’s really about the life they lead now and how they want that expressed when they die. G2G! is about not just the logistics of advance planning but how to help people grieve and remember their loved ones in a less complicated, stressful way. It’s not solely about designating possessions, it’s about having difficult conversations and providing healthy, positive instructions on how to grieve. I don’t know of any other companies in existence who use humor and rock and roll in spreading the importance of advance planning.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Best: I am a music freak so the thing I love best about this city is that there are unique music events that could only happen here. I’ve been able to see The Police in the front row at the Whisky, Paul McCartney plays for Jimmy Kimmel in the middle of Hollywood Boulevard, U2 talking about their album at Capitol Records studio, etc…and of course, the SUNSHINE. I’m solar powered and couldn’t live anywhere else. I also love that LA is close to Joshua Tree, which is my spiritual home!
Least: Obviously the TRAFFIC! ugh. But the thing I least like about LA is its ageist attitude and the unhealthy obsession with youth. Running a death positive business in LA is incredibly difficult because everyone seems brainwashed into thinking that getting old is a punishment of some sort and pondering death is even more of a rarity! I’m incredibly proud and happy to be 49 years old. It feels like people who live in LA are allergic to aging.
- Departure Files on their own are $55.00 and can be ordered from my website: www.goodtogopeace.org
- Consultations by phone or video conferencing is $150 per person.
- Good To Go! parties are $100 per person attending. (and includes Departure Files)
- Website: www.goodtogopeace.org
- Instagram: @goodtogopeace
- Facebook: @goodtogopeace
- Twitter: @goodtogopeace
- Other: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPtLRHL74cs
Tennessee Thomas, Laura Hutchens, Amy Unzen