25 October 2020
In this time of uncertainty with a global pandemic, our daily norms in the real world had to be transferred to virtual reality, from business meetings to meet-ups with friends. The Internet is Civilization 2.0, the life we live parallel to the one we live in the physical world. A couple of decades ago, critics of the mass influence of the internet in our daily lives feared that we were becoming less connected to each other as we became more dependent on technology. What they didn't foresee were the actual benefits of the Internet and gadgets like smartphones, and how they actually help us stay connected with others. This year proved that, when used correctly, the virtual world can be a sort of haven when the real world becomes unsafe due to epidemics.
What happens in life can also reflect what happens after death. In particular, how we practice traditions that involve gatherings such as memorial services. How do you stay safe, as well as keep others safe, and still honor your departed loved one? In the same way we adapted to uncontrollable circumstances by leveraging technology, you can find innovative ways to host and/or attend memorial service. For instance, you can create a virtual memorial service for your dearly departed.
A virtual memorial service, or online memorial, is a memorial service that is hosted on the internet. Remember, don't confuse memorial service with a wake (which occurs before a funeral in certain Christian beliefs) and the funeral itself (which is an official last rites and the burial). Typically, a memorial service occurs after your loved one's burial. Depending on your beliefs, your loved one's wishes, decisions by family members, and a plethora of other factors, you can hold a memorial service anytime you wish. For those whose culture or personal beliefs don't include wakes, a memorial service can be its substitute. A memorial service can also take place a year after the funeral, such as the first anniversary of your loved one's passing. Memorial services usually take place in a private residence that can host guests who came to pay their respects, but they can also be hosted anywhere that has a significance. For instance, public vigils are a form of memorial service for the departed.
A virtual memorial service utilizes technology to perform the traditional practices of an in-person memorial service, which includes:
Delivering a eulogy and speech
Telling stories about the dearly departed
A mass or sermon by a religious official
A group prayer session
Performing or playing a religious hymn or appropriate song
Showing a video or photo slide show of your loved one's life
Performing a poetry reading or poetic monologue
You can host a virtual memorial service on a Memories Timeline, which is interactive and will allow guests to comment on particular elements of the service, such as a memorial video and photos of your loved one.
Even without a global pandemic happening, a virtual memorial service can still be a good alternative or supplement to a traditional memorial service. For instance, family members and close friends live in various places around the country, and even abroad. It would be thoughtful of you as the host of the memorial service to include them, so that they can pay their respects and honor the loved one's memory even if they can't attend in person.
Besides the actual event itself, other benefits of a virtual memorial service includes:
Keeps memories alive since the virtual memorial service is published online. A traditional memorial service is a fleeting event.
You can share multimedia presentations more easily than utilizing a small-screen TV or barely-visible projector at an in-person memorial service.
You can send invites easily and check who will be attending.
This might sound trivial given the context of honoring a loved one, but virtual memorial services are cheaper, if not free. This is a major advantage since the economy is unstable at the moment.
Memory preservation. A virtual memorial service can be turned into a larger Memories Timeline after the event.
If you don't know where to start in planning a virtual memorial service, you're in luck. We've written numerous articles and how-to guides that will help you create an online memorial for your loved one.