Virtual Mourning in the age of Covid and 2020
Just as a child today may not realize why the save button on a computer has an image of a floppy disk, many will never read an obituary in their local newspaper, as their parents and grandparents had before them. Instead, there is a question of memorializing the departed on social media. Etiquette suggests that one first needs to notify the family members and close friends of the departed, personally. But then what do you do?
In the age of Covid-19, with people unable to travel or assemble in large groups, posting information about the funeral and memorial service now includes a link to watch online. But how do you take a funeral online, with all the sensitivity around the event? Imagine being the person standing with a smartphone capturing such a sad occasion, perhaps feeling a bit disrespectful! In fact, many funeral homes now offer funerals webcast on Youtube or other platforms.
A few weeks ago, I tuned into one such memorial service for a distant relative in Michigan. Just a handful of the nearest and dearest mourners were allowed to be in attendance, with gloves and face coverings, approaching the grave one by one. The people who were watching from their computers and phones greatly outnumbered those physically present.
Even if an online funeral and memorial service are conducted with the utmost sensitivity to provide a way for the mourners to grieve, an in-person visit to the cemetery would need to follow, when possible. Traditionally, there was no way to pay respects without getting on a plane, train, or in a car.
Today, new technologies are extending the digitalization of mourning traditions. Apps like AFTR are using HD cameras and audio streaming to bring people closer to their loved ones. As digitalization trends expand, even a visit to the cemetery can be done on a smartphone or tablet - preserving the meaningful connection of going there in person.
-- Learn more about AFTR and how we bring people closer to their loved ones, no matter where they are.