The Memorial Society, Inc., 66 Marlboro Street, Boston, Mass. 617-859-7990

A Will for the Woods
Tuesday November 25, 2014 7:00 PM until 9:00 PM
Cary Memorial Library, 1874 Massachusetts Avenue, Lexington, MA
Contact: Raya Gildor, 617-859-7990,
The Funeral Consumers Alliance of Eastern Massachusetts will offer a screening of the movie A Will for the Woods on Tuesday, November 25 at 7pm at Cary Memorial Library’s large meeting room at 1874 Massachusetts Avenue in Lexington. Attendance is free and open to the public.

A Will for the Woods (1h 42m - Documentary/Drama) A man's passionate wish for a legacy of green burials inspires a profoundly affecting and optimistic portrait of people finding meaning in death. Musician, folk dancer, and psychiatrist Clark Wang battles lymphoma while facing a potentially imminent need for funeral plans. Determined that his last act will not harm the environment and may even help protect it, Clark has discovered the movement to further sustainable funerals that conserve natural areas. The film follows Clark’s dream of leaving a loving, permanent legacy by using green burial to save a nearby woods.

The FCAEM supports the Green Cemetery Initiative, a collaboration between Mount Grace and Green Burial Massachusetts to establish Massachusetts’s first green cemetery open to all. The FCA of Eastern Massachusetts is dedicated to educating consumers about their rights and options, and publicizing up-to-date information about the state of after-death care options in Massachusetts.

FCAEM is an all-volunteer organization, with 501 (c)(3) non-profit status. All donations are tax-deductible.

FCAEM 2014 Annual Meeting

Curious about after death care, but don’t know where to get reliable information? Come learn the answers to questions such as: Can you really keep a dead body at home? Are there alternatives to conventional burial and cremation? How can I find a low-cost coffin? How can I make a funeral more meaningful and personal?

Choices in After-Death Care

Featuring a panel of knowledgable volunteers:

Heather Massey, home funeral guide of “In Loving Hands,” a center for natural death-care education: The Why and How of Home (or Do –It-Yourself) Funerals

Eva Moseley, member Green Burial Committee: What is Green Burial and Why Is It a Good Choice?

Raya Gildor, President of the Funeral Consumers Alliance or Eastern Massachusetts: The FCA and Consumer Choice

Ruth Faas of Mourning Dove Studio: Finding Meaningful Ways to Honor and Grieve

Day: Saturday, March 29, 2014
Time: 2:00 – 4:00 pm
Where: Mount Auburn Cemetery’s Story Chapel, 580 Mt Auburn St, Cambridge, MA 02138 (617) 547-7105

Accessible via MBTA bus, and there is parking onsite. (MBTA bus 71 or 73 from Harvard Square; get off at the Brattle Street stop and cross Mount Auburn Street)

Return to Life
April 8, 2014, 6:00 pm at Mount Auburn Cemetery, 580 Mount Auburn St,, Cambridge, MA
Equal parts green legacy and love story, the natural burial movement integrates cradle-to-grave sustainability, in flesh and spirit, and in after-life care. Even as hospice, living wills, and (now) death cafes are changing the way we talk about death and dying, so too is natural burial changing the conversation about what we want our lives to mean beyond our deaths — for our loved ones and our world.

Join us for this free lecture in Story Chapel with Mary Woodsen, who brings nearly 15 years and a wealth of ground-up experience with the natural burial movement – as well as evocative imagery – to her talk, Return to Life.

This event is co-sponsored by the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Eastern Massachusetts. The FCAEM is dedicated to educating the public about the rights and options, and publicizing up-to-date information about the state of after-death care options in Massachusetts.

The FCAEM 2014 newsletter is available.
Click here to read it.

Final Rights

Final Rights: Reclaiming the American Way of Death is officially released!
The only book of its kind, Final Rights is a must-read for consumers and policy makers. Library Journal gave it a great review, calling it an "essential purchase" and highlighting the books features: "They look at the components of burying the dead, including choosing caskets and markers, dealing with cemeteries and funeral homes, understanding pre-need funeral purchases, and new and revived trends such as home funerals and green funerals. They offer numerous real-life examples of manipulation and questionable practices and provide tips for consumers to help avoid rip-offs, such as misleading perpetual-care arrangements and exorbitant embalming costs. There is practical advice on filing a complaint when wronged by the industry and a cautionary chapter on the Federal Trade Commission and what the authors see as its failure to enforce its own consumer protection rules." 

Order the book here and more than half the cover price goes directly to the national FCA to support their work.

What Does the Funeral Consumers Alliance Do?

  1. Provides members with information about laws, practices and forms pertaining to death, burial, cremation, anatomical gifts and related subjects.
  2. Helps you plan for your funeral while you are healthy and able to make decisions that are right for you and your family.
  3. Provides information for those who might wish to care for their own dead.
  4. Gives you forms on which to record the kind of arrangements you prefer. Do you want family and friends to make charitable gifts in your memory to your favorite charitable organization rather than send flowers?
  5. Provides reciprocity with other affiliates around the U.S. if you move or die while traveling.
  6. Maintains information on funeral directors who are willing to cooperate with your choices.
  7. Monitors legislation pertaining to funeral practices to insure that freedom of choice in arrangements is preserved.
  8. Provides speakers on request to various civic or religious groups.

Plan Ahead

Death is something no one wants to think about. But, when a death does occur, there are many important decisions to be made. These are decisions which should not have to be made at such a difficult and painful time. To ease the burden on your family and friends, there are things that you can do now and plans that you can make today. Check out our benefits of membership.

For a helpful article on Planning a Funeral from Boston Consumers' Checkbook click here.

Do It Yourself

It is perfectly legal in Massachusetts, as in most other states, to care for your own dead without using a funeral home at all. Or, if you wish, you might want to use only limited services, for example, help with transportation, or the necessary paper work. Whether planning for yourself, or someone close to you, see our advice on doing it yourself.

FCAEM helped revive this time honored tradition in the 1990s by clarifying the law with the state after the funeral Board of Registration had led many to believe that the practice was illegal. Click here for details of that history.

2013 Funeral Service Survey Results

The FCAEM Board conducted a new funeral home survey in January 2013.  Massachusetts Funeral homes were asked to answer a survey and send us their General Price List. 

You can view the responses to the 2013 and earlier surveys and the General Price Lists of those who responded by clicking here.

[last updated 2014-08-09]

Protecting a consumer's right to choose a dignified, meaningful, affordable funeral