How is technology changing the way people mourn and remember loved ones?

Since time immemorial, technology has been revolutionizing the way people live their lives. From communication to entertainment, technology has become an integral part of people’s routines. However, this aspect has also spilled over and has begun to change how people participate in funeral activities. Have you attended a virtual funeral service or sent an e-sympathy card? Then you’ve participated in these drastic changes that are slowly becoming mainstream. 

Technology is so powerful that it is changing how the world mourns, including how bereaved family members convene and remember their loved ones. Since technological breakthroughs are evolving and expanding with each passing day, it is important to understand how these developments affect the funeral industry, including personal rituals. After all, death is an inevitable aspect of life, so the more people understand it, the more equipped they are to handle this trying time with grace.


Online Funerals and Live-Streaming

One of the most glaring changes in the way people mourn is through virtual funerals and live-streaming. A blessing in disguise brought on by the coronavirus pandemic is the realization that people can grieve from afar thanks to technology. Now, virtual funerals allow you to participate in the funeral services no matter where you are. This means family members and friends who are not able to travel due to sickness, money constraints, work, or active service can view the proceedings from anywhere in the world thanks to technology. 

Live-streaming services allow funeral homes to share the ceremonies and burial process with family members, friends, and other guests who cannot attend in person. This option is very helpful for those who are unable to travel. With technology, people can convene with family and friends, finding support even if they’re miles away. This means even if you’re away, you can still feel a sense of connection with other online participants and feel as if you’re a part of the service.


Virtual Memorials and Online Communities

Another significant change thanks to technology is the way people remember loved ones through virtual memorials and online communities. With the rise of social media, people can now easily create and store online mementos for their departed loved ones. Examples of these are: 

  • Transforming a Facebook profile into a legacy page
  • Using albums to share photos with others
  • Creating a short video memorial 

Moreover, online communities also serve as bereavement support groups that connect grieving family members with others who have experienced similar losses. To illustrate, there are online groups for widowers, mothers who miscarried, or parents who’ve lost a child. These communities offer empathy and understanding, creating a sense of belonging for those who are grieving. Online groups also offer hope because older members show that it is possible to heal and live a full life after a tragic loss.  


Digital Assets and Legacies 

Today, many people who pass away leave behind digital assets and legacies. These assets can include the following: 

  • Social media profiles
  • Emails
  • Digital photos
  • Online bank accounts
  • Crypto accounts 
  • E-wallets

It’s important for modern people to consider preserving these digital assets so their bereaved loved ones can gain access when they’re gone. If you have these assets, you must designate someone to manage these digital assets upon death so it’s not lost in cyberspace forever. Digital legacy services also now allow people to create digital time capsules that designated loved ones can open at a later time. 


Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality

Do AI and virtual reality have a place in death and mourning? You might be surprised that these components are also changing the way people mourn and remember their loved ones. Today, companies are using AI technology to create chatbots that can mimic the deceased’s speech and personality. Although it may sound far-fetched, this newer technology paves the way for mourning family members to have “conversations” with the deceased. 

At the same time, virtual reality is currently being used to create more meaningful online memorials. With this tech, people can opt to create a digital space where they can share memories and interact with an almost realistic representation of their loved ones. True to its name, VR creates immersive experiences that can help people cope.


The Future of Mourning and Remembering with Technology

As technology continues to evolve rapidly, it is interesting to consider what the future holds. What could mourning and remembering possibly look like in the future? Check out potential developments to keep an eye on:

  • Virtual reality options allow bereaved family and friends to virtually visit gravesites or special locations that have a special significance to their departed loved ones
  • Augmented reality experiences show people digital images and memories overlaid on the physical world around them
  • Personalized AI algorithms that can suggest ways to honor loved ones based on unique personalities 
  • Advances in biotechnology allow people to preserve the genetic information of their loved ones for future generations

As these technologies continue to emerge and evolve, it will be interesting to see how they are adopted and optimized by the funeral industry and those grieving. Technology is now an integral part of people’s lives, so it will undoubtedly continue to play a significant role in how people mourn and remember their loved ones. 


Things to Consider: Technology and Potential Ethical Issues 

While technology can help create more immersive experiences and support, it is crucial to consider the ethical implications of these changes. For example, using AI to create chatbots of deceased loved ones could raise issues on the appropriateness of using someone’s likeness without their consent. 

It is also vital to think about access to a person’s digital assets after they pass away and how these assets are managed. Although it is exciting to embrace technological improvements, it is essential to ensure that these changes are being implemented respectfully and appropriately. Ultimately, technology paves the way for everyone to create new ways to remember and honor our loved ones. And that in itself is certainly something to be celebrated.