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

Events

Death Education Class and Death Cafe, June 12
Ever give any thought to the box you’ll be in when you shuffle off this mortal coil? The hows and whys of self-made caskets will be the topic at a death education class from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Monday, June 12th at the First Congregational Church of Falmouth on the Village Green. A Death Cafe will precede the presentation, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. The two sessions on June 12 are distinct, and folks may attend either portion, or both.

The 7:30 event will feature two local men who’ve built caskets for themselves and others, as well as two short videos on the topic.

Leo Lechtenberg, a 73-year-old Falmouth resident, says, “Building your own box is a satisfying, enjoyable project which can help one come to terms with one's mortality, prompts discussion, acceptance, and even laughter in the family, and saves a lot of money.” Chris Weidman, a scientist, artist and former commercial fisherman, has participated in home-based funerals, making coffins and salt urns for family and friends. They’ll display and talk about their projects and offer tips for others interested in following their lead.

A one-hour Death Cafe will precede the presentation, featuring facilitated conversation on matters relating to death, dying and bereavement. Refreshments will be served.

Death Cafe is an international movement started in Europe to encourage people to talk about the taboo subject of death. It is simply a gathering in a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere with refreshments, allowing us to share a respectful, engaging, thought-provoking and life-affirming conversation on any topics related to death, dying and bereavement. The objective is to increase awareness with a view to lessening the fear of death while enhancing life.

An Death Cafe gathering is a group-directed discussion of death with no agenda, objectives or themes, nor affiliated religious organization. It is a discussion group rather than a grief support or counseling session. 

Beverages and desserts will be provided. The event is free, and all are welcome. Donations for out-of-pocket expenses are always gratefully accepted.

The event is hosted by the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Eastern Massachusetts and First Congregational Church of Falmouth. For more information call Heather Massey at 508-457-1612 or visit deathcafe.com

Death Education Class and Death Cafe, May 8
When Falmouth High School hockey stars James Lavin and Owen Higgins died in a car crash just before Christmas, a team of social workers and mental health counselors joined Falmouth schools and the wider community to offer support to a grief-stricken town. Some of those who volunteer their time talking with and counseling Falmouth residents through such local tragedies will discuss their work at a death education program from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Monday, May 8, at First Congregational Church of Falmouth on the Village Green. A Death Cafe will precede the presentation, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

The program will include an opportunity for informal conversation on the ways the community can come together and heal after such tragic losses, and how we can support one another, said the Rev. Jonathan Drury, co-founder of the Cape Cod Death Cafe in Falmouth. Speakers will include local mental health counselors Aimee Loth Rozum and Carol DiFalco.

A one-hour Death Cafe will precede the presentation, featuring facilitated conversation on matters relating to death, dying and bereavement. Refreshments will be served.

The two sessions on May 8 are distinct, and folks may attend either portion, or both.

Death Cafe is an international movement started in Europe to encourage people to talk about the taboo subject of death. It is simply a gathering in a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere with refreshments, allowing us to share a respectful, engaging, thought-provoking and life-affirming conversation on any topics related to death, dying and bereavement. The objective is to increase awareness with a view to lessening the fear of death while enhancing life. A Death Cafe gathering is a group-directed discussion of death with no agenda, objectives or themes, nor affiliated religious organization. It is a discussion group rather than a grief support or counseling session.

Beverages and desserts will be provided. The event is free, and all are welcome. Donations for out-of-pocket expenses are always gratefully accepted.

The event is hosted by the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Eastern Massachusetts and First Congregational Church of Falmouth. For more information call Heather Massey at 508-457-1612 or visit deathcafe.com.

Shopping for a Funeral and Volunteer Social
Planning the 2017 Funeral Price Survey and Beyond!

Saturday, April 1st, 2017
2:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Somerville Public Library - Auditorium
79 Highland Ave, Somerville, MA    map

Free and open to the public!

Death affects us all, so whether you are an FCAEM volunteer or general community member, this meeting is for you!

Have you ever had to plan a funeral?

Did you struggle with understanding the pricing of funeral services?

  • Do you want to understand what your rights are as a consumer when shopping for funeral services?

Every two years, the FCA of Eastern Massachusetts reaches out to regional funeral homes with a survey and request for a copy of their general price list. We compile the responses and publish our findings online. This information is very useful for comparing the going rates for similar services in a notoriously non-transparent industry while also helping assess funeral home compliance with federal regulations.

Let's Get Social!

Join FCAEM members as we begin the planning process for our 2017 Funeral Price Survey and brainstorm about other ways volunteers would like to get involved in future events and projects.

Are you interested in co-creating a film series? Have an idea for hosting a speaker series or workshop? We would love to hear your thoughts and build on your enthusiasm to develop engaging public events that are valuable contributions to not just our membership, but the greater community.

FCAEM is dedicated to opening the dialogue around death and dying to help the public make informed and empowered decisions regarding the process of planning final arrangements and after death care.

Hope to see you there!

Green Burials and Natural Death Care, Sunday, March 19, 2017 - West Tisbury, MA

Green Burials & Natural Death Care

FCAEM Annual Gathering, Saturday, March 18, 2017 - Cambridge, MA

2017 Annual Gathering

You are invited to the FCA of Eastern Massachusetts Annual Gathering with special guest, Josh Slocum followed by a Death Cafe

"Funeral Shopping in the 21st Century" by Josh Slocum, Executive Director, Funeral Consumers Alliance.

Free and open to the public!

Saturday, March 18, 2017, 2-5pm

Friends Meeting House
5 Longfellow Park, near Harvard Square
Cambridge MA 02138

The Funeral Consumers Alliance of Eastern Massachusetts is pleased to invite you to our Annual Gathering. Come out and meet your board members, socialize with other like minded folks and enjoy our special program comprised of a wonderful guest speaker followed by death cafe. Refreshments will be served.

Join us in welcoming special guest, Josh Slocum, Executive Director of the national Funeral Consumers Alliance to learn about "Funeral shopping in the 21st century."

When was the last time you went on the internet to compare products, services, and prices? Most of us turn to the internet first before we buy. But funeral consumers are stuck letting their fingers do the walking through a paper phone book when it comes to planning a funeral. FCA studied 150 funeral homes across the nation recently and found less than 25 percent of them put their prices online. That's why we're lobbying the Federal Trade Commission to compel funeral homes to put their complete price lists on line. As it stands, the law was written in the 1970s, and funeral homes need only give price quotes  by phone, or hand you a paper price list when you physically visit the funeral home.

We'll take a look at the numbers, and do a live demonstration of the problem by checking out some funeral home websites in Eastern Massachusetts. Using the latest cost comparison survey by the FCA of Eastern Mass., we'll show you why it matters, and how to protect your friends and family from bogus charges and upselling. Remember--bring your children or spouse! Your FCA membership is really a gift to them. You won't know how well it went when you're gone, but they need to know how to use our help today.

Stay for conversation and snacks as the FCAEM hosts the ever popular Death Cafe beginning at 3:30 pm! A Death Cafe is an international movement encouraging people to talk about death. It is simply a gathering in a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere with refreshments, allowing us to share a respectful, engaging, thought-provoking, and life-affirming conversation on any topics related to death, dying, and bereavement. Interesting conversation is guaranteed! To learn more about the death cafe movement -- visit deathcafe.com

About Josh
Joshua Slocum joined the FCA staff in 2002 and became executive director in 2003. He has appeared as an expert commentator on funeral issues in national media such as 60 Minutes and the New York Times. On behalf of FCA’s nationwide federation of consumer information groups, Slocum has testified before Congress and helped to draft federal and state statutes protecting funeral consumers.

In 2011 he published Final Rights: Reclaiming the American Way of Death with co-author Lisa Carlson. Final Rights combines a journalistic investigation of the funeral industry and how consumers navigate it with practical information on how to avoid funeral fraud.

Special Townwide Death Café Set for March 13 in Falmouth 

Get ready for some bad news: Death is inevitable. Someday you are going to die. So are all the people you love.

To help us better prepare for this fact of life, the Falmouth Reads Together Committee is partnering with Cape Cod’s Death Café for a town-wide discussion on Monday, March 13, 6:30-8:30 p.m., at First Congregational Church of Falmouth on the Village Green.

“People are inclined to pretend death is not going to happen, and we dance around the topic,” said Heather Massey, a founder of the Cape Death Café. “People don’t die, they “pass” or they “move on.” We say we “lost” someone (she must be around here somewhere …). The language of death has become the language of denial.”Death Café is an international movement started in Europe to encourage people to talk about the taboo subject of death. It’s not morbid. It’s just a gathering in a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere with refreshments, allowing us to share a respectful, engaging, thought-provoking and life-affirming conversation on any topics related to death, dying and bereavement. The objective is to increase awareness with a view to lessening the fear of death while enhancing life.

Since the first Death Café  in London in 2011, the concept has spread across Europe, North America and Australasia. Today there are more than 4,000 Death Cafes in 42 countries. Cape Cod’s Death Cafe, founded in 2013, was the first in Massachusetts, leading the region in helping people prepare for the inevitable end of life.

In 2017, Falmouth Reads Together selected two texts to help residents face some of these difficult conversations: “Being Mortal” by Atul Gawande and “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?” by Roz Chast. 

At the March 13 event, participants will break into small groups for gently guided conversation with no agenda or objectives. Beverages and desserts will be provided. The event is free, and all are welcome. Donations for out-of-pocket expenses are gratefully accepted.

The event is sponsored by First Congregational Church of Falmouth and the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Eastern Massachusetts and hosted by the Cape Cod Death Café facilitation team and Falmouth Reads Together. For more information call Heather Massey at 508-457-1612 or visit deathcafe.com

Death Education Class and Death Cafe, Feb. 13, 2017 - Falmouth, MA
How far would you go to sustain the life of someone you love, or your own? When the moment comes, and you’re confronted with the prospect of “pulling the plug,” do you know how you’ll respond? Those are among the questions posed in “Facing Death: Confronting End-of-Life Choices,” a one-hour PBS Frontline film to be shown at a death education class from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 13, at First Congregational Church of Falmouth on the Village Green. A Death Cafe will precede the film, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. The two sessions on Feb. 13 are distinct, and folks may attend either portion, or both.

In this intimate, groundbreaking film, doctors, patients and families at the Mount Sinai Medical in New York speak with remarkable candor about the increasingly difficult choices people are making at the end of life: when to remove a breathing tube in the ICU; when to continue treatment for patients with aggressive blood cancers; when to perform a surgery; and when to call for hospice. 

A one-hour Death Cafe will precede the film, featuring facilitated conversation on matters relating to death, dying and bereavement. Refreshments will be served.

Death Cafe is an international movement started in Europe to encourage people to talk about the taboo subject of death. It is simply a gathering in a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere with refreshments, allowing us to share a respectful, engaging, thought-provoking and life-affirming conversation on any topics related to death, dying and bereavement. The objective is to increase awareness with a view to lessening the fear of death while enhancing life.

A Death Cafe gathering is a group-directed discussion of death with no agenda, objectives or themes, nor affiliated religious organization. It is a discussion group rather than a grief support or counseling session. Beverages and desserts will be provided. The event is free, and all are welcome. Donations for out-of-pocket expenses are always gratefully accepted.

The event is hosted by the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Eastern Massachusetts. For more information call Heather Massey at 508-457-1612 or visit deathcafe.com.

Death Cafe, Saturday, February 11, 2017 - West Tisbury, MA

Death Cafe

Death Education Class and Death Cafe, Jan. 9, 2017
A former ICU/ER nurse who was moved to help families navigate the complex labyrinth of preparing for death will discuss her new venture, DieWell Cape Cod, at a death education class from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 9, at First Congregational Church of Falmouth on the Village Green. A Death Cafe will precede the presentation, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. The two sessions on Jan. 9 are distinct, and folks may attend either portion, or both.

Her years of delivering critical care led Amber Collins to realize that dying patients and their families more often than not lack the understanding of the road ahead. “I was touched by a lot of what I saw as an educational gap in family and patient understanding of Advance Directives, the conversations that needed to occur around end-of-life planning, and the capabilities of modern medicine,” she said. “Die Well is an outlet for me to offer support and guidance to those who may find the many documents Massachusetts has available confusing. My goal is to offer assistance in navigating what Advance Directive decision might be best for an individual based on their wishes and their unique perspectives on death and dying.”

A one-hour Death Cafe will precede the presentation, featuring facilitated conversation on matters relating to death, dying and bereavement. Refreshments will be served.

Death Cafe is an international movement started in Europe to encourage people to talk about the taboo subject of death. It is simply a gathering in a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere with refreshments, allowing us to share a respectful, engaging, thought-provoking and life-affirming conversation on any topics related to death, dying and bereavement. The objective is to increase awareness with a view to lessening the fear of death while enhancing life.

A Death Cafe gathering is a group-directed discussion of death with no agenda, objectives or themes, nor affiliated religious organization. It is a discussion group rather than a grief support or counseling session. 
Beverages and desserts will be provided. The event is free, and all are welcome. Donations for out-of-pocket expenses are always gratefully accepted.

The event is hosted by the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Eastern Massachusetts. For more information call Heather Massey at 508-457-1612 or visit deathcafe.com. More information about DieWell Cape Cod is available at diewellcapecod.com.

Death Education Class and Death Cafe
Monday, December 12, 2016, 6:30 - 8:30 pm
An award-winning Massachusetts journalist will discuss her new book on how we deal with death and mourning at a death education class from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 12, at First Congregational Church of Falmouth on the Village Green. A Death Cafe will precede the presentation, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Miriam Weinstein of Gloucester will talk about All Set for Black, Thanks: A New Look at Mourning, which ditches the sanctimony and gives us the help we actually need. Part memoir, part how-to, it includes topics such as how we keep our dead with us even as we learn to let them go, how to write the Best Eulogy Ever, and why we should not bring casseroles. The book grew out of the unexpected death of a good friend, which was followed by other losses and a year of introspection and black outfits.

Eight Cousins will have copies of the book available at the event, and Weinstein will be signing books.

A one-hour Death Cafe will precede the presentation, featuring facilitated conversation on matters relating to death, dying and bereavement. Refreshments will be served.

The two sessions on Dec. 12 are distinct, and folks may attend either portion, or both.

Death Cafe is an international movement started in Europe to encourage people to talk about the taboo subject of death. It is simply a gathering in a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere with refreshments, allowing us to share a respectful, engaging, thought-provoking and life-affirming conversation on any topics related to death, dying and bereavement. The objective is to increase awareness with a view to lessening the fear of death while enhancing life. A Death Cafe gathering is a group-directed discussion of death with no agenda, objectives or themes, nor affiliated religious organization. It is a discussion group rather than a grief support or counseling session.

Beverages and desserts will be provided. The event is free, and all are welcome. Donations for out-of-pocket expenses are always gratefully accepted.

The event is hosted by the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Eastern Massachusetts. For more information call Heather Massey at 508-457-1612 or visit deathcafe.com.

Death Education Class and Death Cafe
Monday, November 14, 2016, 6:30 - 8:30 pm
A retired Falmouth physician who filed suit against the state of Massachusetts in October seeking a right to aid in dying when the pain from his metastatic cancer becomes too great will discuss the lawsuit and his evolving perspective on dying at a death education class from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 14, at First Congregational Church of Falmouth on the Village Green. A Death Cafe will precede the presentation, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. The two sessions on Nov. 14 are distinct, and folks may attend either portion, or both.

Roger Kligler of Falmouth, a retired internist who practiced most recently with Steward Health Care in Boston, was joined by another Falmouth physician, Alan Steinbach, in filing the suit Oct. 25. Steinbach seeks the right to provide lethal medication to terminally ill patients who wish to have more options to alleviate their suffering. The two men claim no law in Massachusetts specifically bars doctors from providing aid in dying. Kligler, who has Stage 4 prostate cancer, is co-chairman of the Falmouth Action Committee of Compassion and Choices, a nonprofit organization working to improve care and expand options for the end of life in the United States. The organization filed the suit on behalf of Kligler and Steinbach.

At the Nov. 14 class Kligler will discuss both his quest to give patients with terminal diagnoses more options to end their suffering and his own personal journey as a doctor whose cancer diagnosis put him on the other side of the examining table.

A one-hour Death Cafe will precede the presentation, featuring facilitated conversation on matters relating to death, dying and bereavement. Refreshments will be served. Death Cafe is an international movement started in Europe to encourage people to talk about the taboo subject of death. It is simply a gathering in a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere with refreshments, allowing us to share a respectful, engaging, thought-provoking and life-affirming conversation on any topics related to death, dying and bereavement. The objective is to increase awareness with a view to lessening the fear of death while enhancing life. A Death Cafe gathering is a group-directed discussion of death with no agenda, objectives or themes, nor affiliated religious organization. It is a discussion group rather than a grief support or counseling session.

Beverages and desserts will be provided. The event is free, and all are welcome. Donations for out-of-pocket expenses are always gratefully accepted.

The event is hosted by the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Eastern Massachusetts. For more information call Heather Massey at 508-457-1612 or visit deathcafe.com.

Death Education Class and Death Cafe, Sept. 12
Monday, September 12, 2016

No more are we locked into choosing between standard burial and cremation; the options for after-death care and for a final resting place are increasing exponentially. In Falmouth to discuss the expanding landscape of death care is Sharon Ponciano of Sacramento, California, who will share her perspective as a home and community death care consultant at a death education class from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 12, at First Congregational Church of Falmouth on the Village Green. A Death Cafe will precede the presentation, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Ponciano, a licensed funeral director, considers herself an activist in the field of death education. She has co-produced a monthly national teleconference for the home funeral community and serves on the board of the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Northern California.

The format will be a Q&A as Ponciano is interviewed by her co-producer on the monthly teleconference, Falmouth’s own Heather Massey, with time for audience members to ask their own questions. Topics addressed will include changes and options in funeral service, the rise of women in the funeral industry, options for meaningful, dignified and affordable funeral and memorial services, and observations about the responses of people newly exposed to home death care.

A one-hour Death Cafe will precede the presentation, featuring facilitated conversation on matters relating to death, dying and bereavement. Refreshments will be served.

Death Cafe is an international movement started in Europe to encourage people to talk about the taboo subject of death. It is simply a gathering in a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere with refreshments, allowing us to share a respectful, engaging, thought-provoking and life-affirming conversation on any topics related to death, dying and bereavement. The objective is to increase awareness with a view to lessening the fear of death while enhancing life.

A Death Cafe gathering is a group-directed discussion of death with no agenda, objectives or themes, nor affiliated religious organization. It is a discussion group rather than a grief support or counseling session.

The two sessions on Sept. 12 are distinct, and folks may attend either portion, or both.

Beverages and desserts will be provided. The event is free, and all are welcome. Donations for out-of-pocket expenses are always gratefully accepted.

The event is hosted by the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Eastern Massachusetts. For more information call Heather Massey at 508-457-1612 or visit deathcafe.com.

How to Die in Oregon

Death Cafe June 13, 2016

 

An Evening of Death Education and Conversation
Monday, April 11, 2016, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
An award winning film exploring the profound sense of wonder that can come with passing from life to death will be shown from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 11 at First Congregational Church of Falmouth on the Village Green.  The film will be followed by a Death Cafe from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.

"Death: A Love Story" follows the journey of husband-and-wife filmmakers Mel Howard and Michelle Le Brun as they confront Mel's unexpected terminal illness and ultimate death.  This timely documentary looks into the gift death offers when we are able to put our fears, confusions and denial aside and simply sit and listen to our loved ones as they exit life.  It confronts our fears of the greatest unknown and reveals the moment-to-moment grace possible in living.  In the end, Mel shares his death and discoveries about life with the most extraordinary clarity and wisdom.  One reviewer called it "an eye-opening, sobering encounter with modern medicine and remarkable evidence of filmmaking playing a part in the healing process."

The movie will begin promptly at 6:30 p.m. so feel free to arrive 10 minutes early to settle in.

A one-hour Death Cafe will come next, featuring facilitated conversation on matters relating to death, dying and bereavement.  Death Cafe is an international movement started in Europe to encourage people to talk about the taboo subject of death.  It is simply a gathering in a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere with refreshments allowing us to share a respectful, engaging, thought-provoking and life-affirming conversation on any topics related to death, dying and bereavement. The objective is to increase awareness with a view to lessening the fear of death while enhancing life.

A Death Cafe gathering is a group-directed discussion of death with no agenda, objectives or themes, nor affiliated religious organizations. It is a discussion group rather than a grief support or counseling session. The two sessions on April 11th are distinct, and folks may attend either portion, or both. Beverages and desserts will be provided and anyone is welcome to bring a treat to share. The event is free, and all are welcome.  Donations for out-of-pocket expenses are always gratefully accepted.

The event is hosted by the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Eastern Massachusetts.  For more information call Heather Massey at (508) 457-1612 or visit deathcafe.com.  More information on the film is available at deathalovestoryvideo.com.

Annual Gathering with special guest speaker and Death Cafe
Free and open to the public!

Saturday, April 2, 2016
2:00 - 6:00 pm

The Democracy Center
45 Mt Auburn Street
Harvard Square
Cambridge MA

The Funeral Consumers Alliance of Eastern Massachusetts is pleased to invite you to our Annual Gathering. Come out and meet your board members, socialize with other like minded folks and enjoy our special program comprised of a wonderful guest speaker followed by death cafe. Refreshments will be served.

Join us in welcoming guest speaker, Cheryl Kane, Director of Nursing at McInnis House of Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, as she shares her experiences in the pioneering delivery of hospice and palliative care to Boston's most vulnerable residents. She will discuss the challenges encountered caring for those facing end-of-life with limited or no resources to facilitate final arrangements.

Followed by a Death Cafe beginning at 3:45pm. A Death Cafe is an international movement encouraging people to talk about death. It is simply a gathering in a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere with refreshments, allowing us to share a respectful, engaging, thought-provoking, and life-affirming conversation on any topics related to death, dying, and bereavement. Interesting conversation is guaranteed! To learn more about the death cafe movement -- visit deathcafe.com.

Death Cafe
Free and open to the public!

When: Sunday, February 28th, 2016, 12:30 - 3:30pm
Where: ONCE Lounge Somerville, 156 Highland Avenue, Somerville, MA 02143

Death Cafe is an international movement started in Europe to encourage people to talk about the taboo subject of death. It is simply a gathering in a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere with refreshments allowing us to share a respectful, engaging, thought-provoking, and life-affirming conversation on any topics related to death, dying, and bereavement. The objective is to increase awareness with a view to lessening the fear of death while enhancing life!

A Death cafe is a group directed discussion of death with no agenda, objectives or themes, nor affiliated religious organization. It is a discussion group rather than a grief support or counseling session.

We are proud to have a musical guest to sweeten our event! Thank you to Rob Byrd for performing immediately following our cafe, http://www.robbyrd.com/

Please stay for the music and continue your conversations in the ONCE Lounge.

To learn more about the Death Cafe movement -- visit deathcafe.com.

Email fcaemass@gmail.com with any questions regarding the event!

Death Cafe at Mount Auburn Cemetery
Sunday, November 15, 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Join us for a Death Cafe in Bigelow Chapel at Mount Auburn Cemetery, 580 Mount Auburn St., Cambridge, MA, cohosted by FCAEM and Mount Auburn Cemetery!

Following the model developed by Jon Underwood (based on the ideas of Bernard Crettaz), a Death Cafe is an opportunity for people to eat cake, drink tea, and discuss death. The goal is to “increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives.”

This is not an end-of-life planning event, bereavement group, or grief counseling. We hope that you will come with an open mind, prepared to discuss the topic of death with strangers in a safe, respectful environment.

Learn more about the Death Cafe movement.

Free but space is limited. Please pre-register.

In Loving Hands: A One-Day Intensive Workshop on the Art of Green, Family-led Deathcare
Sunday, November 1, 2015, 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
The Center at Westwoods, 590 Gay St., Westwood, MA
02090
Presented by The Natural Deathcare Collaborative

The movement for a more personal, green and healing way of caring for our dead is growing. This workshop is about education and empowerment to shift the paradigm around death.

Topics include:

    * Overcoming Fears
    * Funeral History
    * What Happens at Death
    * Legalities/ Paperwork
    * Caring for the Body
    * Green Burial/Funerary Options in MA
    * Memorial Art for Healing Loss

$150 (some scholarships available.)

REGISTER online at http://inlovinghands.naturaldeathcarecollaborative.com/ OR mail a check payable to:

Funeral Consumers Alliance of Eastern Massachusetts
66 Marlborough Street
Boston, MA 02116

For more information email fcaemass@gmail.com or call: 617.859.7990

Special Guest Presenter: Karen van Vuuren, Natural Transitions' founder and executive director.

Death Cafe - Somerville
Saturday, October 24, 2015, 2 - 4 pm
Death Cafe is an international movement started in Europe to encourage people to talk about the taboo subject of death. It is simply a gathering in a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere with refreshments allowing us to share a respectful, engaging, thought-provoking, and life-affirming conversation on any topics related to death, dying, and bereavement. The objective is to increase awareness with a view to lessening the fear of death while enhancing life!

A Death cafe is a group directed discussion of death with no agenda, objectives or themes, nor affiliated religious organization. It is a discussion group rather than a grief support or counseling session. It makes sense to confront the inevitable end of our lives before it catches us unawares. To learn more about the Death Cafe movement -- visit deathcafe.com

Free and open to the public.

When: Saturday, October 24th, 2015 from 2-4pm
Where: The Arts at the Armory Cafe, 191 Highland Ave, Somerville, MA 02143
The Arts at the Armory Cafe is just a 15 minute walk from both Davis and Union Squares in Somerville. It is accessible via public transit and there is plenty of off-street parking.

Feel free to send an email to fcaemass@gmail.com with any questions regarding the event! Thank you!

See our event on deathcafe.com

The Wake Up to Dying Project - Somerville
September 24 - 27, 2015
Seven Hills Park, Davis Square, Somerville

The Wake Up to Dying Project aims to shift our cultural perspective on death from fear and avoidance toward familiarity – by inviting people to acknowledge death, be prepared for it, and live more fully for having done so.

We do this by gathering and sharing first person audio stories about death, dying, and life. We bring these stories, along with related art, hands-on engagement opportunities and workshops to communities in a creative traveling exhibit.  

Schedule and more details here.

  • Considering Your Final Footprint: Green Burial and Choices for After­Death Care
    Community members are invited to the Waquoit Bay Reserve Visitor Center on Tuesday, August 25 from 7 - 8:30 to learn about the concept of green burial and natural death care. Heather Massey of the Natural Deathcare Collaborative and Carol Coan of Green Burial Massachusetts will present “Considering Your Final Footprint” a program that will introduce options to make informed decisions on this topic.

  • Most Cape Codders have come to realize the importance of paying attention to environmental issues in every area of life but few consider the impact of choices for after death care. This presentation includes a brief overview of the issues and alternatives, and in addition, focuses more specifically on one option that can be better for the environment, natural or conservation burial. This workshop will help you think through issues and have the information needed to explore natural death care, and to discuss options with family and friends.

  • Volunteers continue to make progress on starting natural burial cemeteries in Massachusetts, joining a growing number that already exist in America and worldwide. This workshop will provide basic information on what one needs to know to care for a loved one at home directly after death, and will also explore options for natural burial and discuss the work being done to establish Massachusetts’ first green cemetery.

  • Heather Massey is a Family Deathcare consultant and educator. She offers trainings and presentations through the Natural Deathcare Collaborative and "In Loving Hands," a center for natural deathcare education on Cape Cod. She is facilitator for the Cape Cod Death Cafe and Living with Dying. She is a director emerita of the National Home Funeral Alliance and Cape Cod volunteer contact for the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Eastern Massachusetts. Heather explained, “In practical, as well as theoretical ways, this workshop will help you stay true to your values during the momentous transition of death. The way we’ve typically come to take care of our dead in America has environmental ramifications that most of us haven’t been aware of. Natural burial in a biodegradable casket provides the opportunity for the body to simply return to the earth, rather than thwarting the natural process with the use of embalming fluid, metal, or hardwood caskets and concrete burial vaults."

  • Carol Coan, PhD, is an anthropologist with a special interest in human anatomy and in what we do with our bodies after death. She regularly teaches classes on end of life options and planning. She is a former president of the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Western Massachusetts, and continues to field calls to their information line. Carol is also a founding member of Green Burial Massachusetts, whose mission is to start Massachusetts’ first conservation cemetery.

    The program will be held in the Waquoit Bay Reserve Visitor Center, 131 Waquoit Highway, Waquoit, MA 02536. For more information check www.waquoitbayreserve.org or call 508­457­ 0495 x107. The program is free and open to all. 

  • Death Cafe - Cambridge, MA
    Saturday, August 22, 2015, 2 - 4 pm
    If you think it likely you and the people you love will someday die, here's a conversation you might like to join!

    Death Cafe is an international movement started in Europe to encourage people to talk about the taboo subject of death. It is simply a gathering in a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere with refreshments allowing us to share a respectful, engaging, thought-provoking, and life-affirming conversation on any topics related to death, dying, and bereavement. The objective is to increase aawareness with a view to lessening the fear of death while enhancing life!

    A Death cafe is a group directed discussion of death with no agenda, objectives or themes, nor affiliated religious organization. It is a discussion group rather than a grief support or counseling session.

    It makes sense to confront the inevitable end of our lives before it catches us unaware.

    Free and open to the public!

    When: Saturday, August 22, 2015, 2 - 4 pm

    Where: The Democracy Center, Harvard Square, 45 Mt Auburn St, Cambridge MA

    Refreshments provided.

    To learn more about the Death Cafe movement -- visit deathcafe.com.

    What are my transport/parking options getting to the event?
    The Democracy Center is easily accessible via Pulic Transit. Take the Redline to Harvard Square and walk down Mt. Auburn Street towards Central Square. Parking is by two hour meters. The closest parking garage is the Harvard Square Parking Garage, 65 John F. Kennedy Street, Cambridge, MA 02138.

    Where can I contact the organizer with any questions? Feel free to send an email to fcaemass@gmail.com with any questions regarding the event! Thank you!

  • A Legacy of Love: Reclaiming After-Death Care Naturally, at Home, and in Community
    Wednesday , April 22, 2015 6 pm at the Belmont Media Center
    Presented in Partnership with Sustainable Belmont

  • Explore the movement establishing green cemeteries, which also preserves land and habitat. Learn about home and family directed funerals, beautiful, eco-friendly caskets, and a variety of resources.

  • This evening presentation provides an introduction to the issues and options with a panel of four presenters. There is a growing awareness and rethinking of options to care for our loved ones after they die. Current American practices have a significant affect on the earth and may not be personally meaningful. Returning to natural burial traditions affirms and strengthens our connections to each other and to our world. The decisions we make can better reflect our values, be fiscally responsible and have a positive environmental impact instead. In addition, these alternatives offer simpler and even joyful ways to draw closer within our communities while we grieve and honor those who have died. We will review current laws and your rights. You will feel confident and supported in leaving a legacy of love and educated choices.

  • Free and open to the public - Bring your questions!

  • Presenters

Ruth Faas offers biodegradable caskets and help with planning ahead for after-death care through her work at Mourning Dove Studios.

Judith Lorei is a natural burial advocate and co-chair of Green Burial Massachusetts (GBM). GBM educates the public about natural burial options and is working to establish green cemeteries in Massachusetts.

Heather Massey is a Home Funeral Guide and educator who offers trainings and presentations through "In Loving Hands", a center for natural deathcare education on Cape Cod. She is a board member of the National Home Funeral Alliance and Cape Cod volunteer contact for the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Eastern Massachusetts.

Raya Gildor heads the Eastern Massachusetts chapter of the Funeral Consumers Alliance, educating the public through presentations and price surveys, and offering help via a phone line: 617-859-7990. The Funeral Consumers Alliance (FCA) is a national nonprofit organization that protects consumers' rights to choose meaningful, dignified, affordable funerals.

http://www.belmonthealthcollaborative.com/green-burial-panel

  • Annual Meeting and Speaker
    Saturday, March 28, 2015
    Unitarian Universalist Church, Bedford MA
    Please join us for our Annual Meeting and Speaker Series on Saturday March 28, 2015 at First Parish in Bedford, Massachusetts. First Parish is located at 75 Great Road in Bedford. (781) 275-7994.

    This year, in addition to a new venue, the meeting will have a new format. The speaker session will take place from 2-4 pm and be followed by a Death Café from 4-6pm.

    Peter Stefan, of Graham Putnam & Mahoney Funeral Parlors, is a Funeral Director with over thirty-five year’s experience serving families in the Worcester, MA area. He is currently writing a book about his experience with the Boston Marathon Bombing. Peter was responsible for preparing and finding a spot to bury the body of deceased marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Peter will talk about this, as well as other issues, and offer an extended participatory question and answer period.

    A Death Café is a group directed discussion of death with no agenda, objectives or themes. It is a discussion group rather than a grief support or counselling session. At a Death Café people, often strangers, gather to eat cake, drink tea and discuss death. The objective is “to increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives.” See more at: www.deathcafe.com

    Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA)
    Saturday, January 10, 2015 in Worcester MA
    FCAEM is sponsoring a table at NOFA’s winter conference.
    Our volunteers will be there to educate attendees about after-death care rights and options.
    http://www.nofamass.org/events/wc#.VK9Ie9LF98E

  • 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, fcaemass@gmail.com
    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. libraryinsight.com/eventdetails.

  • 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.

    FCAEM 2014 Annual Meeting
    Saturday, March 29, 2014

    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)

  • 2013 FCAEM Annual Gathering Speaker Series
    Saturday, March 2, 2-4pm
    First Unitarian Society in Newton
    1326 Washington Street, West Newton, MA 02465

    The Rise of the Religiously Unaffiliated
    According to the Pew Forum on Religion and Private Life Report “Nones on the Rise” released in October 2012, one in five American adults — nearly 20 percent of the US population — now describe themselves as religiously unaffiliated. Within this broad category, some people do have spiritual and religious beliefs — they just don’t identify with any specific religious group. How does this shift affect who provides spiritual end-of-life care and bereavement services, especially funerals/celebrations of life?

    Featuring:

    Katrina M. Scott received her Masters of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School (05) and is the Oncology Chaplain at Massachusetts General Hospital where she provides spiritual support to patients, family and staff. She is the author of several articles on the National Consensus Project for Quality Palliative Care (NCP) Clinical Practice Guidelines Domain 5: “Spiritual, Religious and Existential Aspects for Care” (2008) and is dedicated to promoting a multi-disciplinary team approach to end-of-life care. Endorsed by the American Ethical Union (Ethical Culture) for Health Care Chaplaincy, Katrina is an Officiant of the Ethical Society of Boston and Board Certified by the Association of Professional Chaplains. She lives in Newton with Fred (spouse) and Moxie (dog).

    All are welcome. Refreshments too!

    First Unitarian Society in Newton is accessible via MBTA bus, and there is a municipal parking lot nearby.
    Location: 1326 Washington Street, West Newton MA 02465; Phone: 617-527-3203
    Directions: http://www.fusn.org/content/directions

  • 2012 FCAEM Annual Gathering Speaker Series
    Saturday, March 17, 2-4pm
    Story Chapel, Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, MA

    Protecting Our Final Rights and Energizing the Funeral Consumers Alliance
    Featuring:

    Josh Slocum, Executive Director, Funeral Consumer Alliance and co-author of Final Rights: Reclaiming the American Way of Death. Our mission is to educate the public about their rights and options when arranging funerals, burials, cremation, and other aspects of after-death care. The best way to fulfill this goal is to raise public awareness of our organization at the local level. Josh is familiar with ideas and suggestions from affiliates across the nation, which we can use to invigorate our group. Josh has a wonderful witty way of presenting the material and news of concern to all of us.

    Ruth Faas, Owner, Mourning Dove Studio, 485 Massachusetts Ave., Arlington, MA. Ruth will also be joining us and bringing a wicker and other alternative and eco-friendly caskets and urns. If you have only seen “traditional” funeral containers, this will be a great educational opportunity.  Ruth will be available to answer questions on natural burial.

    All are welcome. Refreshments too!

    Mount Auburn Cemetery is accessible by car or public transportation.
    Location: 580 Mount Auburn Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
    (617) 547-7105 Directions: http://www.mountauburn.org/visit/getting-here/

    Green Burials at Mount Auburn - a talk & tour
    Tuesday, July 26, 2011, 5:30 PM
    What is a green burial? Are you confused by the concept? There are several definitions of Green Burial. What's yours? Join Candace Currie and Jim Holman in Story Chapel for a brief discussion followed by a walking tour. Learn about the ways Mount Auburn may accommodate your burial wishes and where burials might occur within the bounds of Mount Auburn's 175 acres. Free.

    Candace Currie is Mount Auburn's Director of Planning & Sustainability. Jim Holman is Mount Auburn's Director of Cemetery Services.

    Mount Auburn Cemetery
    580 Mount Auburn Street
    Cambridge, MA 02138
    friends@mountauburn.org
    617-547-7105

    Talk by Jae Rhim Lee about the Infinity Burial Project
    Monday, March 14th, 2011
    7PM - 9PM
    MIT Bartos Theater Weisner Bldg (E15) Lower Level, 20 Ames Street, Cambridge, MA
    Jae Rhim Lee's current work, the Infinity Burial Project (http://jaerhimlee.tumblr.com/), proposes alternatives for the post-mortem body andfeatures the training of a unique strain of edible mushroom to decompose and remediate toxins in human tissue. Jae Rhim Lee's work challenges the boundaries prescribed by society and culture between self and other by proposing unorthodox relationships for the mind/body/self, and the built and natural environment. Lee has exhibited both nationally and internationally and is a recipient of a Creative Capital Foundation Grant (2009), Institut für Raumexperimente/Universität der Künste Berlin Grant (2010), and the renowned MAK Schindler Center Scholarship, Los Angeles.

  • Located in Kendall Square, Cambridge. Take the MBTA red line to the Kendall/MIT stop. Follow Main Street west to Ames Street, turn left,and walk one block. Ames Street has limited on-street parking. Visitors may park in MIT campus lots after 5PM. (The Hayward Lot is on Hayward Street, off of Amherst Street or Main Street.)

  • act@mit.edu
    617—253—5229

  • Post-Mortem Options: A Workshop on the Dead Body
    This workshop will feature a diverse group of representatives from the funeral industry and others who will provide an overview of the options for burial, cremation, and other alternatives. Come learn about new and traditional technologies in the funeral industry, the green burial movement, consumer organizing in the funeral industry, and traditional funerals. Then discuss the options and our cultural attitudes toward death. The workshop will include presentations from representatives followed by a Q&A and discussion. This workshop is sponsored by the MIT Program in Art, Culture and Technology and the Decompiculture Society, a group which promotes the acceptance of death and the practice of cultivating decomposing organisms. The event is organized by Artist and Designer Jae Rhim Lee (http://www.jaerhimlee.com). Representatives from FCAEM will present at the event.
    Date: Tue Jan 25, 2011
    Time: 6-8:30pm
    Room: MIT, Room E15-209

  • Green Burial Information Session
    On Sunday, November 7, 2010, Carol Coan and Judith Lorei of the Green Burial Committee of the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Western Massachusetts will present information on this natural option for burial. The presentation will take place in the Community Room of the Robbins Library, 700 Mass. Ave., Arlington, MA, from 2:30 – 4:30 pm. All are welcome at this free information session. Refreshments will be served.

[last updated 2012-03-07]

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