What Are Your Funeral Arrangements? Are You Ready?

This seminar offered objective facts about funeral planning so families can plan a meaningful goodbye that fits their needs and their budget by providing information about laws, practices and forms pertaining to death, burial, cremation, anatomical gifts and related subjects.

What You Need to Know about Funerals, Post-death Care, and Body Disposition Options

The discussion included working with funeral homes, how to read a Funeral Home General Price List, and provided information for those who might wish to care for their own dead, including natural deathcare and green burial.

Heather Massey , MSW, LMT 

Local Community Death Educator and Funeral Consumer Advocate

Passionate about teaching and reviving the ancient art of natural deathcare

Through "In Loving Hands" and the "Natural Deathcare Collaborative," Heather consults and trains families, community groups and funeral service providers. A leading educator and speaker nationwide for this revival, her work has been featured on National Public Radio (NPR), Huffpost Live, and in numerous local and national publications and radio news programs. She is a director emerita of the National Home Funeral Alliance. Heather is a former hospital social services director and VNA/hospice administrator. She is now a family-led deathcare advocate, educator, consultant and mentor. She is also the co-founder of the Cape Cod Death Cafe, and is a facilitator for the monthly Living With Dying program at the Woods Hole Library and coordinator of the monthly Community Death Education programs in Falmouth. She is the Cape Cod representative of the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Eastern MA.

March 25th Seminar Resources

Funeral Consumers Alliance:  A national not-for-profit organization dedicated to protecting a consumers rights to meaningful, affordable and dignified after-death care, including the right not be be a consumer at all. Funeral Consumers Alliance is the only national consumer organization that monitors the funeral industry, keeping a close eye on industry trends and advocating for fair practices on the behalf of consumers.

Funeral Consumers Alliance of Eastern MA:  Local affiliate of the national Funeral Consumers Alliance. Visit the website for MA state specific funeral issues, funeral home price surveys, and planning forms.

Green Burial MA: A green burial is one in which the body is not embalmed.  The burial container is made of biodegradable materials (soft wood, cardboard, wicker) or the body is wrapped in a shroud. There is no vault or cement grave liner, rather the container or body is placed directly on the soil to biodegrade naturally. A headstone, if used, is fieldstone or made from indigenous material. 

National Home Funeral Alliance: A national not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping families and communities reclaim home based after death care. The alliance also provides the tools you will need to conduct a home funeral on your own.

For Families Not Working with a Funeral Home:  It is legal in Massachusetts for a family to act as the funeral designee and take the role of the funeral director. For more information on completing the necessary paperwork, visit the site for information on electronic death certificates and the responsibilities of a family designee. 

Death Cafe:  At a Death Cafe 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 lives. A Death Cafe is a group directed discussion of death with no agenda, objectives or themes. It is a discussion group rather than a grief support or counseling session.

Have you started the conversation with your loved ones?