Mourning in the digital age

While the ongoing Covid pandemic has had the heart-rending effect of separating families across towns and cities, states and countries through the restrictions on gatherings and travel, it has also accelerated a digital revolution in various ways. One area which quickly adopted the new live-streaming applications was in funeral services.

You can leave a virtual tribute on the online vale pages of various publications, social media pages, memorial venues or funeral homes. These platforms are used to share stories, special memories and photographs in celebration of the deceased, all helping to personalise the grieving process and connect families and friends together.

Now, even if you are on the other side of the world. you can also participate in a memorial, celebration of life or funeral service. Hooking up with your device – whether it’s a phone, laptop or desktop, to a funeral service at a memorial park, such as Eastern Suburbs (ESMP) or Woronora (WMP), or in a country church or a city cathedral – is simple. Booking your online presence with the funeral provider is usually a must, then when you are approved and registered the rest is simply a matter of clicking the link provided at the scheduled time. You may be able to share your memories of the deceased, present the eulogy or even run the service remotely. The possibilities are endless and are still being explored.

At ESMP and WMP the striking art deco chapels are in the process of undergoing a revamp to ensure all the contemporary requirements for modern-day funerals are in place. Along with improved seating, upgrades to public amenity and enhanced accessibility, leading-edge equipment for high-quality live streaming is being installed. The chapels will continue to serve the community with a high standard of service as meaningful and attractive spaces in the future but also virtually through their advanced technology which knows no borders.

After the funeral, the grieving are also being catered for. In Australia Beyond Blue offers a forum for grief and loss where people can join a supportive online community and post their experiences, from the loss of a partner to a beloved pet. This is run by a moderator, who says: “Everyone’s experience of grief or loss is unique. You might experience all kinds of difficult or overwhelming emotions, and you might sometimes wonder if the sadness will ever end. This is a normal reaction to loss. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, but it can help to allow yourself to share your grief, and let others support you. This forum category is for all discussions relating to how grief and loss has affected you, providing a space for you to express your feelings, discuss difficult moments and anniversaries, and honour the memories of your lost loved ones.”

Another option is the Griefline online forum and counselling service whose moderated online forums are accessible 24/7 for those “experiencing grief and loss, isolation and loneliness and complicated grieving”.

griefline.org.au; beyondblue.org.au;