Wading Through Grief to Plan Funerals: Tips and Coping Strategies

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Death Notices and Obituaries in the Internet Age

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Arranging the funeral for a recently deceased loved one is obviously a very difficult time. Not only are you grieving, but you also need to make sure that they have an appropriate farewell, and that all of those who knew your loved one are given the opportunity to say farewell. Given the rise of social media, what is the most appropriate way to get the word out about your loss in this day and age?

Telephone Contact

If the prospect of making direct telephone contact with your loved one's other relatives, friends and acquaintances feels like too overwhelming a task to do by yourself, you could ask for assistance. There would be friends and relatives who already know of the death, and so you could essentially divide up the known contact details of the applicable other relatives, friends and acquaintances amongst yourselves to call. Certainly, a group message would streamline the process, but you might feel that such a communication is too impersonal given the circumstances. It's a matter of personal preference. There is also the possibility that you will not be able to locate the contact details for everyone who might have been affected by your loved one's death. This is why the standard obituary appearing in print media still has a place in the internet age.

Printed Obituary

The concept of the obituary is quite far-ranging, although you might be more accustomed to the lengthy obituaries of public figures that appear after their deaths. The obituary for your loved one will probably be more of a death notice to be printed in the local paper (or papers). This allows for those who might not have been contactable to at least have some way of being notified. The obituary itself can be as brief as you like, simply as a formal notification of death, details about the funeral service, and any specific information, such as your loved one requesting donations to a certain charity in lieu of flowers. Though a printed obituary is still necessary to reach those who don't use social media, the reach of social media should still be utilised.

Social Media

When a loved one dies, what happens to their social media accounts? The accounts could certainly be indefinitely left as is, but you might want to use them in order to spread the word about your loved one's death. The policies vary depending on the social media company in question, but as an example, Facebook allows for accounts to be memorialised, making it clear that the person has passed away. You can then later opt to have the account deleted. As with the cancellation of any formal account that a person signed up to, documentation is generally required. You could simply scan and send your loved one's death certificate. This is usually issued by the Registry for Births, Deaths and Marriages in the state where the death occurred. The process varies slightly, but generally your chosen funeral director willnotify the registry of the death, and the certificate is then issued. Ask your funeral director if you require clarification.

Not so long ago, a few telephone calls and a notice in the local paper will have sufficed. While they still have their place, the power of social media should not be overlooked.