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All too many times overwhelmed caregivers are physically and emotionally depleted and need to take time to rest and care for themselves. Believing in a holistic approach to caregiver stress and a strong commitment to helping our members find the right solutions, we created this blog to help you connect with others who, like you, may be facing the same eldercare issues and challenges. Feel free to comment, ask questions, and submit articles. Please forward the blog link to your family and friends. They'll be glad you did.

Warm regards,

Patricia Grace
founder & CEO
Aging with Grace

Monday, April 06, 2009

Online Memorials Can Help You Deal with the Loss of a Loved One

By: Louise Zweben

The Internet age, which has brought us the individual freedom to shop anytime we want or read a hometown newspaper before 6:00 a.m., can now also provide togetherness and comfort to families and friends when they need each other the most.

When someone close to our heart passes away, a funeral not only serves as a way for us to pay respect to them, but also experience a very cathartic and reflective time spent with family and friends. As a result, funerals provide an environment of communal support, essential to starting the grieving and healing process. However, in today’s increasingly mobile world, funeral services are no longer a drive away for many people. With work and home responsibilities to deal with, it is not always possible to come for Aunt Mary’s or Uncle John’s funeral. Online memorials can provide an effective and meaningful alternative.

With an online memorial, friends and family who live out of town and are unable to pay their respects in person can still share in this communal experience. It can provide a unique and meaningful way to celebrate the life of someone we have loved and lost without being there in person. In addition, such a memorial keeps all family and friends, including the ones who live far away, talking about the times they shared with that person long after the funeral services have ended, to provide them the comfort of a close community.

You can create an elegant online memorial in just a few minutes with basic computer skills by using a website that offers memorial sites. Typically you enter the name of the deceased and select various options that help you customize the look and feel. Then you enter their obituary in words; upload any pictures you may have of that person from your computer and save the memorial. Once you have created the memorial, you can use its sharing capability to invite friends and family. Either you or they can start new conversations or carry on existing conversations with stories of their fond interactions about the person they lost.

Such a site, with rich stories of love and loss, sadness and joy, written in words, photos and video, can help helps us smile, laugh, cry and embrace our loved one's life in an effort to make sense of our loss. It helps in mourning and healing, so we can begin to take the first steps needed to move forward. It can also be used to notify friends and family about upcoming memorial events, charitable donations and events honoring the departed. An online memorial also enables children to get to ‘meet’ a grandparent, uncle or an aunt they may have never known and also ensures that the stories of their lives are not forgotten but passed on to the next generation, so that their legacy lives on.

An online memorial is more than an obituary - friends and family can record the whole life, thoughts, soul, pictures, videos, even voice of the person they have lost. It is living, breathing and ever-growing – so, unlike a newspaper obituary, you or your family and friends can add to it anytime. More over, the online memorial can be accessed from anywhere in the world for your friends, family and even future generations to view and leave their own personal tributes and condolences. I invite you to create an online memorial to pay respects to the person you loved and lost. It may be the best way to pay tribute to them and to begin to deal with your loss.

Louise Zweben is the CEO of SympathyTree, an online memorial site. Louise first had the idea for SympathyTree.com from her personal experiences in dealing with the death of a close family friend. Louise is a serial entrepreneur with successful businesses spanning a wide range of areas including Technology and Real Estate.


  1. This is a lovely way to commemorate a loved one's life.

  2. Thank you for this valuable service. When my mother died we were able to communicate with our extended family (she was 1 of 11 children and they all have children & grandchildren)through your program. It was a life saver.


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