What are Digital Memorials?
by Taylor Evans December 10, 2021 4 min read
The necessity of digital and virtual technology as we continue to navigate life offers us new ways of doing things, including new ways to process and deal with grief and loss. For this reason, and especially in light of the recent pandemic, being able to mourn a loss and celebrate a life lived without needing to be in person has become a necessity.
Digital memorials have become an essential part of the grief and mourning process and allows family and friends to recognize their shared love and shared grief for someone who has passed.
What is a Digital Memorial?
Digital memorials are online websites or blog pages that are devoted to an individual who has passed away. They offer a virtual space for remembrances that can be accessible to anyone with a shared link or passcode. Often, these web pages include a specific series of sections, including an obituary, photographs of the deceased, and even a message board where family and friends can post memories, thoughts, blessings, or other messages.
These pages are often moderated by a family member but are hosted or run by a web organization that specifically caters to memorial pages for numerous individuals. A brief online search will reveal possible options for families in a range of prices (or free) offering different services. Some funeral homes even offer digital memorials in their cremation, burial, or funeral packages that are offered to families.
These digital memorials can also come in a variety of forms. While the most common form is a tribute page devoted to someone, other forms can include converted social media pages (some websites offer families the option to convert a social media page into a memorial page after someone has passed), blogs for posting stories or images in remembrance, virtually streamed funeral service to allow family and friends access without being in person, and such.
What are the benefits of a Digital Memorial?
There are a number of reasons why families are now opting for digital memorials either in addition to or in place of permanent, physical memorials.
These reasons include:
Accessibility: More family members and friends from across the globe are able to access a Digital Memorial, even if they’re unable to attend a funeral or mourn in-person with others. Depending on the type of commemoration that is set up virtually, some even are able to live-stream the funeral service. This means that family and friends who were unable to travel, whether because of work obligations, financial reasons, or anything else, are still able to join in the memorial.
Ease of Maintenance: With a Digital Memorial, families who are responsible for maintaining and upkeep the memorial are burdened with less requirements. Traditional memorials are often subject to the weather, which can cause severe damage, as well as vandalism, which can be upsetting and disheartening. There is no need to purchase a plot or deliver flowers or clean a tombstone.
Continued remembrances: Cremation has increasingly become the preferred method of saying farewell to a loved one. However, some families opt to cremate a loved one then scatter their ashes in special locations but may still want to have a place to come and mourn. A virtual commemoration allows them a place to grieve and mourn even if there is no permanent resting place for their loved one.
Versatility and diversity: Since virtual commemorations have become more and more widely used among mourning families, the type, style, and inclusions of a page are significant. Videos, blogs, pictures, messages, live streams are all aspects that can be offered to families. Each family can opt for open access or limited access as well, depending on what type of memorial they choose.
Personalization: It is remarkably easy to provide a personalized experience when using a Digital Memorial to remember a loved one. You can utilize personal pictures and photographs, scan mementos and documents, and allow certain features that you do or do not want included on the page or website. Even aspects like the name of the memorial page, the colors and fonts, and the overall appearance can be personalized for some digital memorial types.
- Lasting commemoration: The internet is certainly not going anywhere. And as many of us know, once something makes its way onto the internet, it’s nearly impossible to remove. In the case of Digital Memorials, this is a huge bonus. Once a commemoration is set up online, family and friends are able to access and view it as often as possible for as long as they want. It helps with the mourning process to know you always have somewhere to remember your loved one.
Support and Solidarity with Healing
Learning to live through the grief of losing a loved one is a challenging journey regardless of who you are. Digital Memorials are not only a powerful way to honor the life and memory of a friend or family member, but they can also help provide solidarity and support to those who have suffered the loss.
Reading the messages of joy and remembrance and love from friends and family all across the world reminds us we aren’t alone in our sorrow. Being able to access images or videos of a loved one who passed away can bring comfort at the knowledge we won’t ever forget them.
Virtual commemorations also mean that even if you were to move away or relocate away from your childhood home or the city or town where someone passed away, you’ll always be able to remember and access their memorial. Far too often, family members feel tied to a location simply because they feel torn about leaving behind the resting place of someone they’ve lost. With a digital memorial, you’re always able to access and remember someone from your life.
Although we may feel alone in our grief, there are often others who feel the same sense of loss and sorrow. Providing a communal space for family and friends to bring remembrances and celebrate someone’s life can have an exponential impact on helping us all to grieve and find ways to love, remember, and continue on in our own lives.
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