As losing someone you’ve bonded with through online communities is becoming more common, so too are online funerals.
Our previous article focused on how to cope when you’ve lost an online friend, so in this piece we’ll look at how to arrange and online funeral.
What is an online funeral?
There are two main ways these work. The first being either a live-stream or recording of the funeral itself which can be watched online without having to be there in person.
Recording a funeral can allow those who live far away or may have ill-health and can’t attend to be able to be part of the service. They can either watch live or replay at a later date when they’re able to.
The second option is to plan a specifically online funeral or memorial service. These aren’t related to a formal physical funeral process. Without the constraint of a physical location, online funerals can be organised in any way that works best for those organising it and in a way that best reflects the person who died.
Live-streaming a funeral
There are lots of options to think about when setting up a livestream, but the first and most important is choosing whether you want to host it yourself or through the funeral company.
Many funeral and crematorium companies now offer a live streaming service as part of their funeral packages. This way, the organisation and hosting will be taken care of without you having to make the decisions.
This comes with a cost, typically between £150-250. It may also come with certain restrictions.
Choosing to do it yourself may save you some money and could mean you can have more control over how to livestream the service.
You will however need to consider
- The equipment you’ll need
- The streaming platform you want to use
- How to invite people (social media, email, texts etc)
- Where you want to save it afterwards (making sure it’s secure)
It’s good to note that funeral and crematoriums may have restrictions on DIY live streaming services. If you are having a church ceremony you don’t usually get much time in the church before and after the service which might impact your equipment set up.
Like much else of the funeral process, how far you want to take this (and how much you want to spend) is up to you. Most phones have decent cameras these days, and most streaming services have a free version that can be used if money is an issue.
Hosting a fully online funeral
A purely online funeral or memorial service is one that isn’t related to any physical funeral proceedings. It’s carried out specifically through digital means. These services can allow communities to come together to remember someone and to help each other with their grief.
Having no ties outside of the virtual world allows people to host these in the way that fits best with the person who’s died.
For example, for someone who may have been part of an online gaming community they may have a service held for them in that platform itself. Over the years we’ve seen this happen in Minecraft, World of Warcraft and other Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG).
An online funeral can be as simple as people gathering at the same time to share memories. But, you’ll still need to determine where online and when to meet and you ‘ll need to take into account different time zones for people attending globally.
You’ll probably not want to create too many rules and restrictions but it’s a good idea to have in mind how to start off conversations. You may also want to have a list of online resources handy to share with anyone who may be struggling with their grief.
Find out more.
The digital world has created many more options to explore when it comes to death. We’ve pulled together a number of different resources that come in handy when thinking about all things digital and death: