Media & Press Archive

Computers made our grieving easier

Clare Grant (Yours Magazine July 2007)

For many of us who have lost loved ones, visiting a churchyard or a crematorium is not always possible. We might live too far away, we might dread crying in public or find the journey too difficult.

But now thousands of grieving spouses, parents and grandparents are finding an unlikely source of comfort – their home computer.

They are turning to tribute pages on special websites, set up so families can remember lost loved ones. And a quarter of all users are aged over 50.

These increasingly popular cyber sites allow you to record your thoughts, display photos, play videos and listen to your chosen music. They can be private, or a way of sharing memories with friends and family. And you can visit your own memorial any time.

Experts say that it’s not unusual for older users to wait some time before setting up a tribute website, because they often need to come to terms with their grief first.

Charity website founder Jonathan Davies, who launched this year, says: “Bereavement websites are a response to our changing needs. After my brother died I climbed over the fence of the graveyard one evening to visit his grave because it was closed when I needed to go. You can visit a website any time or place which is very important.”

Bereavement service manager Nikki Archer, who works at St Giles Hospice in Lichfield believes tribute websites will soon become more widespread.

She explains “Twenty years ago, no one put flowers on a roadside following an accident, but this is usual practice now. The way we accept people’s grief is changing. We are more tolerant of accepting expressions of emotions like flowers or books of condolences.

“The way we used to cope with death was to try to minimize its impact with rituals. But the events like the death of the Princess of Wales show we are expressing our grief differently because society is less formal.

“I tell people about websites because they can meet the needs of so many people of all ages. They are definitely here to stay.”