We are delighted to bring you this Guest Blog by Caroline Jones of digitalandstone, who answers the question ‘What is a Digital Memorial?’.
How does a Digital Memorial solve anything or help your grief process?
A Digital Memorial is a sacred place where stories live and grow. It’s a new way of doing an old thing – that is building a home for our departed loved ones – except this time it’s digital. It’s a way to write, collect, share, grow, and celebrate the stories around a life – your loved ones or your own, or even that of your Pet – seen through a multimedia presentation that is engaging, impactful and dynamic.
How does it work?
At digitalandstone, we call this new digital home a Tree of Life Memorial. It acts as the organizing principle, around the presentation of the life story. In our increasingly secular society we at digitalandstone are hoping to sanctify the ritual of remembrance, by taking it into a new way of relating to and connecting with our loved ones after death.
By becoming a member, and joining our community, one can learn about how best to write your stories. You can join our online chat groups to discuss death and grief or listen to podcasts to illuminate awareness of life, death, and beyond. When you purchase your first Digital Memorial for your loved one, we will set you up with your own private profile page where you can access the Digital Memorial Manager (DMM), the Digital Memorial Page (DM), and the Tree of Life viewing tool (TOL). Use our thought starters to inspire a uniquely creative chronological way of telling a story with our suggestions, questions and quotes.
With this ability to not only create a sense of place where your loved one exists afterlife, you are able, with a Digital Memorial, to continue growing their story by inviting friends and family to share memories forever.
What does it do?
A Digital Memorial provides a death-positive approach to the end of life… because love never dies.
It offers us a place to go, a place to spend time with our loved ones, a place to collect and learn more about them, at any time day or night, and from anywhere. A memory space that is creative, artistic, and sustainable. One of the first things that we do when we are grieving, is want to hang onto as much as we can of the person who has died. Our greatest fear in loss is that once or if we get through the trauma from the shock of death, we will somehow lose touch with their memory. We are worried that we will no longer recall the sound of their voice, the way they laughed, or remember the stories from their childhood.
Everything is rushed through an extraordinarily hurried process from the moment we learn of death. It is usually no more than a week before that whole life force and everything we knew or felt about them has to suddenly be buried in the ground, with a service read by a probable stranger, in a cemetery or a place of burial that might not have had anything to do with our loved one. Questions of whether we will go visit them there, haunt and compound our sense of loss. How can the enormity of a life lived, and one spot, amongst a sea of others, in a strange place, be the only version of what we’ve got left as a permanent place to go, to mourn, to reminisce, to visit?
Well, a digital memorial provides you with a sacred place to centre yourself in the love of your person. It’s a place to go and read and write and laugh and cry and listen and watch the evidence and volume of a soul, it grows with time, and keeps you connected forever.
How does that help?
Like mourning, building a digital memorial is an intimate and unique experience, it takes time and patience to grow your Tree of Life Memorial. It provides a structure to remember someone, in a way that celebrates their life, and connects with all that knew them. It can offer a form of ritual and peace as we compile the life stories, providing a space for healing.
The ritual created by writing, collecting and uploading photos, gathering audio files, and sharing the growing memorial through friends’ and families’ contributions; transforms the way we relate to loss. The habits and stages developed or metabolized in grief, can be processed through collating everything one can about our loved one and building it around a growing digital structure. It gives us a meaning and a soulful connection through process, as well as community through the practice of sharing.
Rituals are a powerful way of accessing the divine, they have spiritual significance whether or not we have a religious belief. Visiting this Digital Memorial, from anywhere, by anyone at anytime – gives us an opportunity to process the grief through a conscious connection to our loved one. It allows us to transcend the physical limitations of life and death and stay in touch with something deeper.
What is the point? A life’s story well told.
The Digital Memorial can help us seek to unlock a deeper meaning of life and death. Our intention goes beyond this mortal coil. All our fears of loss and death and grief can now get focused on being in a space where we are surrounded by the existence of our loved one. We are able to expand our sense of community with the notion that we can walk along side others who have experienced a similar loss.
We can find purpose and meaning in our life through celebrating their life’s journey – by preserving their memory we connect the souls and recognize that love never dies. It is a death-positive action, and part of good grief and death wellness, allowing us a healthy way to live, and in time providing a better way to die.