Media & Press Archive

Using the internet to remember a loved one

Press Release April 2007

Developments in digital media are providing new ways to commemorate someone who has died. Creating a memorial online enables us to store and share memories – in words, pictures or sounds – with friends and family near and far away. Jonathan Davies explains how they work and how they can help in the grieving process.

Finding a personal and meaningful way to remember a loved one is an important decision for those who have been bereaved. They may choose to commission a memorial gravestone, write an entry in a book of remembrance or plant a tree in a special spot. With the digital revolution providing us with new ways of capturing, storing and communicating information, a new possibility is the creation of an online memorial – a page or series of web pages which commemorate and are dedicated to the loved one.

If created sensitively, this new type of memorial can have a number of benefits. There are no geographical or time constraints – family living far away can share their memories in one place and ‘visit’ whenever they want, unbound by closing times or transport requirements. There can be words of remembrance – but also photographs, video clips or favourite songs. The memorial can be updated easily if people wish to contribute new memories or information. And they can become a valued record of a loved one’s life for generations to come.

In addition, the actual process of developing an online memorial can help greatly in the grieving process. An intensely personal experience, it is vital for an individual to find the pathway through grief that is best for them. A good online memorial gives the bereaved a simple structure for recording their thoughts and memories in biographical, diary, photographic or musical form, and this can be invaluable in helping them on their bereavement journey. Through online communities they may also meet other individuals in a similar situation and be able to share thoughts and experiences with them.

In a sense online memorials are not new – websites for the TV Presenter Caron Keating and the singer Michael Hutchence for example have been published for some time. But sites such as these typically require high levels of technical expertise or large development and maintenance budgets. Now, specialist organisations are making this kind of technology available to a wider audience, enabling all of us to set up a memorial site at little cost and – most importantly – without needing to be able to program a computer or understand website design. Anyone who has used a digital camera, sent an email or shopped online will have all the skills necessary to create an online memorial.

There are a number of organisations who will help you put together your memorial website and the easiest way to find them is to Google ‘memorial website’ or ‘internet tribute’. A good service will provide the technical ‘scaffolding’ to turn your content – be it words, pictures or sounds – into an attractive and secure website. Your main task is to gather the content and load it onto the computer when asked to do so. A good service will also enable you to invite others to view the tribute and even contribute to it themselves, while keeping your site and data secure. The best service for you will depend on your own personal requirements and preferences. Here are some questions to ask if you are interested in setting up a memorial online:

  • Will I be able to personalise my website? Will I have a choice of designs?
  • Will I have total control over who else can visit the site? How secure will it be?
  • Can I invite family and friends to send photos, messages and memories to the website?
  • Can I add stories, photos, songs or even video clips? Will there be limits to how much information I can include?
  • Will my memorial website have its own internet address (URL) so that I can go directly there whenever I want?
  • Will it be completely mine with no adverts of any kind?
  • How long will my memorial remain? Can it be kept indefinitely and how can this be guaranteed?
  • How much will my memorial cost?

Most organisations allow you to create a test memorial without charge or obligation so that you can see for yourselves how they work and how your memorial might appear. If you are interested in creating one, bearing in mind the above points will help ensure that the process is straightforward and results in a memorial which is both a fitting tribute to your loved one and which can help you in the grieving process.

Written By: Jonathan Davies
Trustee, MuchLoved
www.muchloved.com
Registered Charity 1118590

About MuchLoved

MuchLoved is a not-for-profit website memorial service which enables an individual to create a personalised online tribute to a loved one. We put the needs of the bereaved first, making sure that they have a service which is easy to use, non-intrusive, secure and perpetual. Our founding trustees have personally experienced the death of siblings at a young age and these experiences have shaped the development of MuchLoved over the last ten years. In particular, we want to give other bereaved people a place to remember, in the hope that this will help them work through their grief successfully