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

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.

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

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 with any questions regarding the event! Thank you!

See our event on

In Loving Hands: A One-Day Intensive Workshop on the Art of Green, Family-led Deathcare - Westwood
Sunday, November 1, 2015, 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
The Center at Westwoods, 590 Gay St., Westwood, MA
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 OR mail a check payable to:

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

For more information email or call: 617.859.7990

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

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 2015-09-26]

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