Living Obituaries: Not All Social Media is about Facebook and Twitter

July 20, 2010
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imageXenia Bailey lost her husband Jason to Lymphoma in 2006, after a 10 year courageous battle with the disease. Apparently, Jason?s loss led Xenia to co-found Legacy of Life Obituaries with another partner (http://www.legacyoflifeobituaries.com).

According to its website, Legacy of Life Obituaries is an online obituary submission service, founded in hopes of easing the pain and burden of creating an obituary during a time of tremendous loss and sadness without sacrificing the quality of the deceased’s written history. For a onetime charge of $19.95 you can create an obituary online and submit your obituary to the newspaper of your choice. The company has created an easy to use online obituary submission system that will allow everyone to create and submit an obituary to their local newspaper. They make it all seem so much less involved and their customers obviously appreciate that.

Is there anything more heartwarming than the inspirational story of someone, who founded a humanitarian-oriented business as a tribute to a lost loved one? In my opinion, people like Xenia Bailey, who have done this are among the most wonderful, caring and passionate people we can ever come to know. As a Cancer Survivor myself (Esophageal Cancer, 2005), I am moved by what she has done in the memory of her late husband. I am sure that he is smiling down from above, as I also know I would be, too.

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All this being said, I agree with Xenia?s notion that we need better and easier ways to create written memorials for our loved ones. I have been very active in many things over the years from career related endeavors to politics to volunteerism. I have often wondered if my wife, in her time of grief, would ever be able to pull together (or even be able to remember) all of the things that I have been involved with and would want to be remembered for. I truly believe that one?s obituary is very a personal document and that it should have our own fingerprints on it, unquestionably.

Really, is an Obituary that much different from a living will? In fact, it is very similar and we should all take responsibility and ownership over such documents. We should not seek to burden our loved ones, especially at times when they least need to take on additional stresses. So, here is what I am proposing:

I think we need online obituary repositories that are password protected on which to store our own obituaries until the time of our passing. At that time, they would be scheduled for release to whatever traditional and online publication that we, ourselves, would wish for them to go to. Our survivors would have access to passwords and permissions to approve and trigger release of the obituaries to the targeted publications and websites.

In my opinion, this is a good application of Social Media, because it offers the deceased and their families comfort in getting the obituaries right and published with the least amount of extra effort on their part. Social Media is about sharing with others online. An Obituary is most definitely the deceased?s very last conversation with their loved ones and friends. To be able to be assisted with this though an extension of Social Media is extremely helpful.

Marc LeVine is the Director of Social Media at RiaEnjolie, Inc. (http://www.riaenjolie.com/funeral-home-websites.html) a New Jersey web page design company that specializes in professional looking and affordable websites for the Funeral Industry among others. Marc often contributes articles on Social Media for the Funeral Industry. You can visit his blog at www.icanewfriend.com/blog.

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