What would I have done if I hadn’t prepared for myself? What would I have done in the midst of the confusion, tears, and shaking, if I wasn’t able to give my friends the information so they could help, and I could receive their comfort without the panic of having to solve the awful problems of a sudden death. I joined FCANNJ because I knew that death is the only inevitability in life, but I never realized the extremity of the moment, the confusion, the surprise, that can be a part of that inevitability when life and death don’t follow our plans.
HOW FCANNJ HELPED ME IN MY TIME OF GRIEF
How does one measure the fullness of love we have for a child? And when that child dies, how can one explain the emptiness of grief, the vacuum which that trauma creates? When my son suddenly and unexpectedly died, I could not function. Friends surrounded me quickly as police and the coroner filled my house. We had to wait for hours until my son’s body was released and, finally, I was able to call a funeral director to come for the body. Because of my membership in FCANNJ, amid grief and trauma, I was able to function without panic, but with grace and respect.
Our support of FCANNJ – and its support of us – is a gift to ourselves, our families, and our community. Our contemporary culture makes it so hard to talk about death, but with organizations like FCANNJ, the conversation can be eased, and the inevitable can provide space for the love and help that ritual recognizes and which our humanity makes natural.
Gerald Fierst, FCANNJ Trustee
I had become a member of FCANNJ as I aged, and as I became a caretaker for my wife. In our seventies, I knew it was important to put my affairs in order. FCANNJ had created a book entitled What You Should Know Before I Go. In it are instructions to compare and choose a funeral director so that, at a moment of grief, your family won’t be overwhelmed. Thanks to that warning, and the information provided to me about local funeral directors, when the 5am phone call came from hospice telling me that my wife had died, I was ready with all the information that was necessary; I could put the book aside. But then, two years passed and tragedy came unexpectedly. My son had a massive heart attack, and I awoke to find him on the floor.
Interest in Green Burials Increases as Embalming Declines
Data gathered by the National Funeral Directors Association shows that nearly 60 percent of Americans in 2021 were cremated after death, an increase from around 25 percent in 1999.
More than 60 percent of people surveyed were interested in having so-called green burials, which are cheaper than traditional burials.
Proposed Changes to FTC’s Funeral Rules
The Funeral Consumers Alliance (FCA) and the FCANNJ have long advocated for transparency in prices by the funeral industry. Last month, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released for public comment a proposed Funeral Rule that would mandate the online posting of funeral service prices.
In 2021, the FTC reviewed the websites of funeral providers and found that less than 40% offered ANY price information on their websites, and only 24% provided a complete general price list.
Comments to the proposed changes are being accepted until December 20, 2022.
The proposed Funeral Rule change can be found on the FTC’s website (https:// www.ftc.gov/legal-library/browse/federal-register-notices/16-cfr-part-453-funeral-industry-practices-rule-anpr) and comments can be provided by simply clicking “Submit A Formal Comment.”
The link to the FTC’s Funeral Industry Practice Rule page can also be found on the FCANNJ website: https://fcannj.org.
Other changes being considered in the proposed rulemaking include:
- Clarifying the right to decline embalming
- Clarifying how cremation prices may be advertised
The FCA website provides additional information about the proposed FTC Funeral Rule: https://funerals.org/2022/10/24/how-you-can-help-improve-the-FTC-funeral-rule/.
PLEASE PROVIDE COMMENTS IN SUPPORT OF THE PROPOSED FUNERAL RULE BY DECEMBER 20!
FCANNJ Honors Marilyn Trinka’s 60 Years of Service to Members and the Community
By Kerri Yezuita, FCANNJ Member
FCANNJ Trustee Marilyn Trenka recently completed six decades of volunteer service to the organization’s members and friends.
Marilyn focused on helping families and people find affordable end-of-life arrangements for their loved ones or friends. She shared her knowledge and skills in the role of Membership Coordinator. The organization’s name has changed from when she started in Morris County, but her priority has always remained a constant. She assisted people as they planned and arranged simple and dignified funeral, crematory, and burial services.
The scope of her volunteer work was broad and varied. Her calming personality was put to use when she would answer questions from members and the community alike. As a wise, kind, and giving consultant, Marilyn helped many people navigate trying times.
Marilyn has been a treasured asset for our organization and the community. She thoughtfully aided people without seeking recognition for her decades of service.
Instead, she freely gave her best using her positive, gentle, hardworking personality, for the benefit others. Although she will be missed, we find ourselves smiling, knowing she will now have more time to enjoy loving her family, friends, and kitties.
Letter from the President
Dear FCANNJ Members and Community,
I wish to thank you for your contributions which have helped the FCANN provide information to guide families in their end-of-life planning and decision making with dignity as well as economy. Your financial support helps our all-volunteer organization serve its members and people across Northern New Jersey.
The COVID era reaffirmed the importance of our mission and made it clear that we need to move into the digital era by finding new ways to communicate our messages. We also ask that you consider sharing your skills and energy as a Board member or to help with FCANNJ’s messaging and projects such as preparing the biennial price survey of funeral and cremation services.
Please plan to join us on Sunday, April 30th for the FCANNJ Annual Meeting. Shari Haber, FCANNJ trustee and founder of My Great Goodbye that provides Death Prep sessions, will discuss environmentally sound green burials and new methods for treating a person’s remains.
I thank you in advance for your continued financial donations to FCANNJ, and wishing you a healthy and Happy New Year.
Bob Rinklin, President,
Funeral Consumers Alliance of Northern NJ
Thank You for Your Generous Contributions Totaling $4,507 from December 2021 through October 2022
Linda & Robert DeLap
Doris & Peter Griffin
Neill & Julia Johnson
Arthur & Ludmilla Johnson
Jim Kearns (in memory of Diane E Kearns)
Mary & Ernest Kopp
Richard & Sheila Krause
Charlotte Mandel (in memory of Dr Irwin Mandel)
Mary & Divakaran Masilimani
Lynne & Archie Palmer
Bradford & Joyce Payeur
George & Beverly Rath
Mary Ann & Wade Renn
Nina & Emil Scheller
William & Ruth Ann Slater
Bill & Rickey Slezak
Arno Tietje (in memory of Gerda A. Tietie)
Lorraine Van Assen
Your giving ensures that this educational non-profit can operate economically. Expenses include:
• FCA National Dues = 15% of Income
• The website and its paid webmaster
• Printing and postage for newsletters
• Financial Report filings & credit-card fees
• Purchase of publications you request
• Annual Meeting honoraria & expenses
You may donate by sending a check in the same window envelope containing this
newsletter *ensuring that the address in the window is that of FCANNJ*
you may contribute online: www.fcannj.org
Please include the name[s] of people whom you wish to honor with your donation