What is an online memorial?

Over the past ten years, millions of people have created online memorials for their departed loved ones to honour and remember them. Read on to learn about this relatively new phenomenon.

Ariella Birnbaum Ariella Birnbaum
ARTICLE4 MIN READ
What is an online memorial?

An online memorial is a dedicated website in memory of a person who has transitioned from this life. It serves as a gathering place for the surviving relatives and friends to support each other and express their grief. The tribute may be viewable indefinitely or temporarily, enabling visitors to see it and add to it whenever they choose from the comfort of their homes. You might choose to develop a memorial website to:

  • Keep a running guestbook for relatives and friends
  • List a timeline depicting the life of someone who has passed
  • Upload videos and images
  • Share short accounts of times shared with the deceased
  • Show slideshows with pictures

Honour their life with online memorials

Online memorials first appeared in the late ‘90s, oftentimes for the rich and famous. However, these websites are now available to everyone. A virtual memorial page is a great way to pay you respects to a deceased family member or friend.

An online memorial often contains a narrative or mini biography about the person’s life. There are many ways to fill the page with relevant information. You might ask friends, relatives, colleagues and others to contribute stories about their encounters with the deceased, as well as photos from throughout their life. You might even share some personal or childhood photographs to add some lightheartedness to the online memorial.

You could also highlight significant events throughout their life, their likes such as their favorite tunes and flicks, and maybe even their dislikes. For example, they might’ve hated brussel sprouts and there could have been a funny story from their childhood about never eating them.

How to create an online memorial

A virtual memorial serves as the heart and soul of people who want to preserve priceless memories. An online memorial should reflect your loved one, their character, and their way of life while the moderators can control the security and privacy of the page.

One option you might choose is to build your own website from scratch. This is often the case for memorial sites commemorating well known people such as political figures, famous artists, actors or musicians.

But there’s no reason you couldn’t create a site for your loved one. Most people develop and customise a memorial website in about 30 minutes or less. After which, anyone can go to the online memorial and at their discretion, take some time in privacy to mourn, celebrate, or leave a personal message. 

Facebook memorialisation and tribute page

Since people worldwide use Facebook to connect with others in good times, it only makes sense that the people would also want to use the site to share personal memories of their beloved and express their sympathy. Since we know how heartbreaking it can be when a friend or family member passes away, it’s comforting to know their page still exists.

This is proving to be a popular option. Every month, more than 30 million people visit memorialised profiles. They share memories, mark significant anniversaries, and pay respect to the deceased.

To memorialise a person’s existing Facebook Page, you will need to provide documentation of their death via the social media platform. You may be happy to know that Facebook is no longer allowing anyone other than close friends and family to request that an account be memorialised.

A family member or friend will then designate someone to manage the deceased's legacy or Facebook memorial page. This person is known as a Moderator. Moderators control the sensitive content that may be difficult for friends and family to view. Once a page is memorialised, Facebook will remove personal information and stop sending birthday notifications but family and friends can still leave condolences and memories.

It may be comforting to know that you can also ask Facebook to make a Look Back movie. This is a touching video that shows off some of the photos from the deceased’s past posts and most popular status updates.

In memory donation page

Another option is to celebrate the life of someone you knew and loved by setting up an online donation page. Donations could be taken on behalf of their family or a charity that they supported, in their memory. It only takes a few moments to create a page, and you can show you care by personalising it.

In a few simple steps, family and friends can join in by also making a financial contribution and leaving a message. The legacy of a loved one needn’t end because they are no longer physically here.

Online donation pages have long been a special place where people support one another while paying tribute to their loved ones. In addition to allowing the deceased’s community to share their comforting memories with one another, they also give the community the opportunity to rally around those left behind.

This is particularly meaningful option if the deceased carried the financial burden for the family or if they passed from a terrible illness that would benefit from additional research funds. Once you have established the page, you can make changes or provide updates to the donors about how the funds are to be used.

Wrap Up

The advantages of online tributes are numerous. Memories of a loved one can fade quickly after their passing. Because of this, online memorials can be a valuable resource, especially for those closest to the deceased. You can share the page by email or on social networks, whatever works for you. When you do, friends and family can contribute to the page anytime, day or night, including weekends but especially holidays when relatives and friends miss them the most.

If you would like your Facebook page memorialised, or you'd like an online memorial of another sort, you can include your desires in the final wishes contained in your legal Will.

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