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

A Legacy of Love: Reclaiming After-Death Care Naturally, at Home, and in Community
Wednesday , April 22, 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.

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:

A Will for the Woods
FCAEM has purchased a copy of the movie “A Will for the Woods” which is available for public screenings as part of our educational mission.
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.

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 2015-01-08]

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