Grieving in a Digital AgeFebruary 3, 2015
While nothing can replace the hug of a friend or the presence of family at a funeral service, the digital age offers many non-traditional ways of coping with grief including online guest books for condolences; online obituaries and memorials; online bereavement groups and social media platforms.
Funeral homes offer online services
Following the death of a loved one, your funeral home offers essential services that cannot be replaced digitally, such as meeting with your funeral director to discuss the type of service that is most in accord with your values; providing a place for loved ones to gather for visitation as well as funeral services and burial. But funeral homes also offer digital possibilities that can enhance the traditional funeral services.
Funeral homes today are able to post the deceased’s obituary online, making it easy for loved ones across the country or around the globe to access the information. Online guest books allow those from near and far to leave their condolences. Those online sentiments both console the grieving family and allow guests the opportunity to express their sympathies no matter where they are located at any time day or night.
The digital age also allows funeral homes to create online memorial pages and tributes. This allows loved ones from all over to virtually come together to share thoughts, memories, pictures and insights about the loved one on a platform that can be accessed twenty-four hours a day. Loved ones can create webpages in memory of the person who has passed away including special memories, biographies, timelines and photographs. Others can then leave messages, post memories or add photographs as well.
Online bereavement support groups
Bereavement groups provide a support system for mourners. Support groups, whether in person or online, provide the opportunity to share your story of loss openly and talk about coping day-to-day, as well as on the most difficult days. Hearing the stories of others lets us know that we are not alone in our grief journey. Grief support groups offer comradery and understanding from others experiencing a similar loss and the challenges that living with grief brings.
Online bereavement groups offer several advantages. Those in pain can reach out to a sympathetic community any time of the day or night. Grief often creates insomnia and it helps to know that someone who cares is out there during the lonely nights. Online communities and bulletin boards are useful for those who have difficulty traveling to meet in person or find comfort in posting difficult feelings and experiences anonymously.
Social media provides a digital platform to remember our loved ones after they’re gone. For young people who have grown up in a
digital age, social media allows them to grieve in a way that makes sense to them.
Posts on Facebook, Twitter or other social media platforms can provide a place for sharing our grief, even years after a loved one’s passing. Users often post on the birthday or anniversary of the death of a loved as a way to remember and pay tribute.
David Sherman of Jupiter, Florida recently posted a message and photo on his Facebook wall to pay tribute to his father on the anniversary of his passing: my dad,Pappa Murray, passed away 33 years ago – his memory is a blessing… pictured here with his boys (1980)
Posts on social media remind friends and family of the deceased and allows them the opportunity to remember and offer support. One of David’s friends was reminded of happy moments shared: Wow…when you mentioned this photo I remembered the day I took it. Thanks for reminding me of those fun times!