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22/07/2012

After death: virtual grief and commemoration

Since the Internet has no geographical boundaries, it is possible that many of the people who love us and interact with us through social media do not live in the same area as we do, and maybe not even in the same state or continent. Since grief knows no borders either, virtual commemoration is as wide as the world: 
  • "Much Loved", the English registered charity, "...helps you express your feelings about your loved one in words, pictures, music and video. It can also help all those affected by the loss to come together, sharing memories and supporting each other". 

  • "Legacy.com" - "An innovative media company that collaborates with more than 800 newspapers in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand to provide ways for readers to express condolences and share remembrances of loved ones."
  • Parting Wishes offers online memorial - "A free service which allows you to create a web page as a tribute to anyone who was important to you. Include photos, thoughts, memories, accomplishments, or anything else you'd like them to be remembered by. You can add text, graphics, and even audio and video. "
  • The non-profit association "Gone Too Soon - "enables anyone to create a free online tribute for a much loved relative or friend who has passed away".
  • "Journal Of Llife", "Memorial Matters" and "Remembered" and  "Aley Shalechet", an Israeli funeral home, in its website "Personal Memorials", all offer online commemoration which could be contributed to by friends and family from around the world. 
A quote from what Shimon Shababo said, standing over the grave of his 13 and a half years old son, Liron, who died of cancer on July 4th 2012 and was buried on July 5th 2012 (quoted here with the family's consent, of course): 
"Yesterday I looked at your Facebook timeline and read all the posts by your many friends. I was moved to tears, knowing how much you were loved and how much you will be missed..." Facebook is becoming an "official" way to grieve and commemorate online.   
Some of these sites seem to no longer be working: 
  • "Sympathy Tree" - "...We realized that the internet can be an important part of the ongoing grieving and healing process. When people gather at a funeral or a memorial service, they see friends and relatives they have not seen in a while. Together they pay tribute, share stories and memories, and comfort one another. It’s often a very cathartic and reflective experience. We realized that this experience could be extended beyond the funeral events by creating a virtual place online where people can come together to grieve, heal, and comfort each other for generations to come."
  • "Memorial Gardens"

I have found some of these links at The Digital Beyond and credit and thanks go to Evan Carroll and John Romano for compiling it. 

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