Sunday, July 15, 2012

Mourning Extended to the Web

In this modern age of computers, video cameras, blogging, Facebook and various web sites, there are many ways for bereaved parents to share their sorrow over the loss of a child. Mourning has extended to the web.

Many parents have started web sites dedicated to their child with photos, stories and whatever they want to include that will help not only the parents find comfort but also for friends and families to honor and remember the child. Some sites allow mourners to post messages on the profile page of the deceased or speak directly to the departed, leaving sentiments such as “I will love you forever.” There are also web sites that will send reminders of upcoming death anniversaries.

I have personally gone to various sites, and lit virtual candles on memorial websites for my daughter and others, uploaded a video of my book to You Tube so parents can see what it is about and whether it would be of help to them, write a weekly blog and write remarks on funeral websites about loved ones who have died. Many are delighted and moved to have people respond on the web to show how much they care.

When my daughter died, the funeral service was recorded on audio tape, given to me by the friend who did it, and I have kept it all these years. I would never have thought of doing that myself so many years ago. The web was not part of my life at that time.

The new mourning rituals come as society increasingly embraces all things digital. Almost half of Americans own smartphones, one in five own a tablet and eight out of 10 people are on the internet, with easy access to social media sites.

Facebook is now being used as a place to express grief and the site, working with parents, honors a family’s request to keep the site active or to deactivate the account, removing the profile and all associated information. Even funeral homes are slowly getting into digital services such as live-streaming of a funeral and keeping a digital guest book permanently active as well as a digital candle lit.

In my book I list one of many sites for those who want to create memorials that celebrate the life and personality of a deceased child. The site is called Virtual and also provides a place where these cherished images and biographies will have a permanent home.

Not everyone likes the new digital innovations, but as we continue to inhance our lives with this new technology, those not willing to accept this will become fewer and fewer and eventually discover they will have to comply to keep up with our new world.

We have always memorialized those we have loved and lost. I believe the web is meeting the need of people to do this in a new way. Your loved one will not be forgotten in this new technological age. But while technology can bring people together, I urge the bereaved to also have person to person interaction and connections and not become completely dependent on the internet as your only way of communicating with others.


  1. I have put together other parents' blogs and websites about grief for purposes of my own reading. Other parents and siblings might also find helpful words by reading the writing of others.

  2. I, for one, am thankful to see more and more blogs written by bereaved parents. It seems to me that it has been a topic swept aside for a long time, a topic most would wish to avoid. Avoiding the topic - and the bereaved, by default - can leave the bereaved alone at a time when support is most needed, when the bereaved most needs to speak of his/her child and grief.

    The current upsurge in writings by bereaved parents gives an incredible opportunity for others to learn about what it's like to lose a child, to dispel some of the erroneous timelines, "stages," and myths associated with the death of a child, and to create an atmosphere support and understanding for those who have to walk through something no parent would ever wish.