Funeral Facebook

February 17th, 2011

Obituary page

Earlier this week I had my first exposure to “funeral Facebook”. A relative passed away and we were sent a link to the funeral home web site where she was being featured. The link took me directly to her page replete with a picture of the deceased, her obituary, a viewing and services schedule as well as a Facebook-type section that enabled visitors to post messages about her to her loved ones. Not surprising when you consider how invasive social media has become in our lives. Some of us can’t have our first cup of coffee in the morning without sharing the experience with hundreds of our closest friends – but I digress.

In the past when extended family or acquaintances have passed away I have either called or Hallmarked the immediate family with a heartfelt sentiment designed to offer any possible comfort to those remaining. These sentiments are extremely personal and carefully considered. People are so vulnerable during these times.

This time I gazed upon her funeral insurance, read a few of the other very personal quotes and contemplated sharing my deeply moving feelings with a sizeable percentage of upstate New York and anyone else who happened upon this site. It felt weird. And creepy. Of course that about sums up the entire macabre experience that has been created by our society in regards to dying and interment – yet another digression.

 close-up of Funeral Facebook sentiment

I dutifully posted my sentiments for public scrutiny whereupon an e-mail arrived with the following message:

Your Life Tributes account has been successfully created and can be used to continue to add to Virginia’s memorial website.

You can also use your Life Tributes account log-in information on any of the hundreds of funeral home websites that are powered by Life Tributes.

Is it me or is this just too weird? Those who know me are aware that I have embraced Facebook and blogging, hell even Twitter but “funeral Facebook” takes voyeurism to a whole new level. I appreciate that the funeral industry is chomping at the bit to get into the mainstream and that they’re trying everything possible to provide moments that affirm the life of lost loved ones but things seem to be going a little too far in my opinion. As much as I don’t want to see a life sized cardboard cutout of the deceased next to his/her coffin, I really don’t want to be part of a fan club for someone who can’t, by virtue of recent occurrences, be interactive.

I guess in closing I should just comment that – I’ve got my Life Tribute account – have you?

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