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Helping Families Grieve In A Digital Age

Technology has changed many things in life including how we cope with a loss. Emerging technologies are transforming the way we grieve and heal after the loss of someone special.

Over the past 20 or so years, the internet has transformed the ways in which we interact and communicate with others. Now, that even extends to grieving and coping with the loss of a loved one. And even though the world is vastly different than it was 20, 10, even 5 years ago, one thing that hasn’t changed is a loved one’s passing is often accompanied by grief.

Thanks to technology, how we are grieving and coping have changed immensely. In a previous post, we discussed grief support resources you can share with families. For the most part, those grief resources mentioned were available through technologies we are familiar with such as telephones, email, instant messaging, and YouTube.

However, those aren’t the only online grief support resources available to help families. In today’s digital age, companies are creating new technologies that are changing the landscape of grief support. As these become more popular over time, technologies like A.I. (artificial intelligence) could transform the way we grieve.

For this week’s blog post, we’re going to highlight some different online resources available to help families grieve and cope with their loss.

SafeBeyond

SafeBeyond is a digital time capsule service that allows a person to prerecord messages that will be sent out to their loved ones after they pass away. If this sounds similar to the movie “P.S. I Love You”, you’re not wrong. With SafeBeyond, the deceased can posthumously communicate with their loved ones for years after their gone.

SafeBeyond allows you to record and share four types of messages: date based, location based, event based, and social media.

Date based messages are ones that are sent on specific dates that are decided beforehand. This could include a special date like a birthday, anniversary, or holiday. That first Christmas or anniversary after a loved one passes away is difficult for some people. Date based messages allow the deceased to schedule a message to send their family and still be a part of the day.

Location based messages are ones that are geo-tagged to be received at a specific location. Say for instance a father and son always dreamed of playing a famous golf course like Pebble Beach but were unable to before the father passed away. With SafeBeyond, the father could record a message to be sent when his son finally gets the opportunity to play there. Imagine standing on the putting green getting warmed up when you unexpectadley get a message from your dad right before you tee off.

Event based messages are ones that are set to be viewed on or after an event like a wedding. In the video below, a father is able to pre-record messages to his family that are shared with them before his daughter’s wedding.

Finally, social media messages are ones that you can write to have posted on your Facebook or Twitter accounts after death. The app connects with the social media platforms and will post your public goodbye message to your friends after you’re gone.

Eternime

Talking to the dead is not a new phenomenon. But what makes Eternime different is that it creates a digital copy of the deceased. The startup based company uses algorithms that study your social media posts and interactions to build a profile. It studies the post the user shares about their favorite band and sees the LinkedIn article they shared on investments. As it studies their mannerisms and memories, the algorithms essentially learn how to be the deceased.

The company then creates a virtual avatar from photos of the deceased that uses artificial intelligence to communicate. Family members can then interact with the virtual user and feel like they are talking directly to the deceased. The idea behind Eternime is that by being able to continue communicating with loved ones, the grieving process and accepting their loss can become easier because they live on virtually.

Eternime’s website says they want to “preserve memories, ideas, creations, and stories for billions of people”. The company boasts that its platform is “a library with people instead of books or an interactive history of the current and future generations”. So far the company is still in the private beta testing stage and has had nearly 45,000 people sign up to create a profile.

Apart of Me

Grief counseling can be expensive and something not every family has access to. Furthermore, children experiencing a loss may not feel like talking about it. That’s where Apart of Me is there to help. The app is built for children to have a safe space to grieve and find strength and wisdom.

Apart of Me is a mobile video game app that lets users explore a peaceful tropical island and learn how to develop coping strategies and express their emotions. The game is intended for children and young people who have lost a loved one or have someone important in their life with a terminal illness.

As of right now, the app is available for free in Canada, the UK, the EU, and New Zealand with plans to expand to the US and other countries in the near future.

Remember Loved Ones With The Book of Memories™

An important part of our funeral home websites is the Book of Memories. This online memorial suite is a great addition to your funeral home website to post obituaries and let loved ones share memories of the deceased. When visiting a loved one’s memorial page, friends and family can offer condolences and upload photos or videos of the deceased to be used in stationery or memorial tribute videos.

It’s a great place to help comfort others who are grieving and create a central hub to honor the deceased and have their memory live on forever. To learn more about the Book of Memories and make it available to your families, contact us today to get started!

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