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Friday 23 February 2018

Online Legacy Part 1/3 - Death on Facebook

Gone are the days that the attic stored thousands of photos and letters and memories. These are all online now in email accounts, on Facebook, Instagram and elsewhere. People now can live beyond death online as a digital persona. However, much that was appropriate while a person was alive may be less so after their death. These photos, videos, tweets, blogs and emails are digital or online assets that may have significant value for family and friends of the deceased. In addition, most social media platforms, with the presentation of accurate documentation, will de-activate the deceased’s account.

For example, on Facebook, you can permanently remove a loved one’s account after their death through a form called ‘Special Request for Deceased Person's Account’, completely removing their profile and all associated content from Facebook, so no one can view it. The next-of-kin or executor of the deceased's estate needs to send a copy of a death certificate along with the deceased’s account details, and the account will then be investigated and removed by Facebook.  OR if you are prepared for your own demise and wish to delete your profile from Facebook upon your death, simply do the following:

Go to Settings in your Facebook profile page
From the left menu, click General
Click Manage Account
Click Request account deletion and follow the on-screen instructions”

Alternatively, you can alert Facebook to the fact that someone has passed away via a ‘Memorialization Request’ and their profile will be frozen to act as a memorial page where their friends and family can leave wishes, thoughts and memories. When pages are memorialized, they are removed from sidebars, timelines, friend suggestions and searches and the privacy of the account tightens, with only friends from the ‘pre-death’ account able to view the page and “Remembering” is added to their name on their profile page. You can also nominate a Legacy Contact which is a person chosen to look after your account after it has become a memorial page. The legacy contact can respond to friend requests, change the profile and cover photo, as well as request removal or the account. They canNOT log into your actual account, read your messages, or change or remove posts, photos or other things you have shared in the past.  More info here

Wednesday 21 February 2018

Arlington - USA's National Cemetery

Arlington National Cemetery is considered the United States of America's most hallowed ground. It is the final resting place for more than 400,000 active military, veterans and their families and it is a sight to behold. For as far as the eye can see, there are grave markers. I couldn't take a photo that did this sight justice. To be there is to experience it fully.

A fully operational national cemetery since May 1864, Arlington conducts between 27 and 30 funeral services each day. It is a unique cemetery in that it is one of the few cemeteries that performs graveside burials with full military honors.

Whichever branch of service the deceased posted with, provide the military honors for the service and the level of military honors received depends on the rank of the deceased. There is one stipulation, ALL service members who die from wounds received as a result of active war duty are eligible to receive full military honors. There is also a group of volunteers called 'The Arlington Ladies' who attend funeral services at the Cemetery to ensure that no Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Coast Guardsman is buried alone.

Tuesday 13 February 2018

Funeral Etiquette - mostly Irish!

Although etiquette is now considered ‘old-fashioned’ in many quarters, here are some guidelines to respectful modern-day etiquette for a funeral.

Consider not:
  • Allowing toddlers to run around with no parental supervision;
  • Answering your mobile phone during any part of the funeral service;
  • Pointing out to the next-of-kin which of the deceased’s possessions you would like to have;
  • ‘Whispering’ loudly about the deceased during a quiet time of reflection or thought;
  • Inquiring about the will and ‘who got what’
  • Getting into a road rage when a funeral procession (hearse and accompanying cars) is passing.

Do consider: 
  • Offering help or assistance – but be specific: “I will call you tomorrow” or “I will make your dinners for this week”, etc; 
  • Paying your respects to all of the family members – they may be wearing a black cross or circle bereavement pins to identify them as grieving (; 
  • Remembering the deceased and talking about them; 
  • Going to both the removal/wake (if there is one) and/or the funeral service to pay your respects; 
  • Calling into the next-of-kin to check up on them in the weeks and months after the funeral; 
  • Sitting up near the front of the funeral home/church or other venue where the service will be held. This shows added support for the next-of-kin, close friends and family and most people avoid this area thinking there are more 'important' people coming. Trust me, you will know if you are sitting in someone's seat but more often than not, the immediate family are left isolated at the top of the church/venue.
  • Your funeral attire: Were you asked to wear a specific colour or outfit for a themed service? If not, modest clothing in muted colours is always a safe bet to avoid offense or disrespect, and if in doubt, ask someone else who will be in attendance and is close to the immediate friends and family; 
  • Doing what you feel comfortable with. Your relationship was with the deceased or their next of kin so in your heart of hearts/gut you KNOW what is approprite to respect their memory. Do it.
  • You will know what boundaries there are and, if in doubt, ask. A person grieving is STILL a person.