Remote Funerals – A Live-Streamed Alternative

These days, almost every element of our lives seem to be played out online, so it’s barely surprising that death is just another aspect of our lives that is starting to move into the online space. A surprising number of US funerals are now streamed live over the internet to allow mourners all over the world to have the experience of being there for their loved one’s final farewell.

For those who are unable to get to the crematorium, either because of physical inability or because of physical location, this service is a godsend, allowing them to log on and watch the ceremony from the comfort of their own home, or even from the palm of their hand through their mobile device’s internet connection.

The Cost Of A Remote Funeral

Although live streamed funerals may seem like a modern concept, some funeral directors have been providing the service for a number of years. Around a third of all services now utilise this service which can simply be requested by the deceased’s family. While some funeral directors charge extra for the remote streaming, others include it as part of the service, and still others offer DVDs of the ceremony at an extra charge.

How Do Live Streamed Funerals Work?

When mourners are unable to attend the physical funeral, they can receive secure login information for the webcast as well as their own password which will ensure complete privacy. The process of filming has no effect on the service itself, although the minister conducting the service will be aware and may, in some cases, ask the mourners to turn and look at the camera and wave to allow viewers to feel part of the day.

Are There Any Disadvantages To Live Streaming?

The increasing popularity of live streamed funerals has raised concerns in some quarters about the possibility of negative consequences. While some funeral directors are delighted at the opportunity to allow family members who live overseas to participate in the experience, others are worried that people will become so lazy that they will end up not attending the service in person to share condolences with the bereaved – an essential part of any funeral and grieving process. However, most mourners would still rather attend in person whenever possible, and it’s unlikely that we’re going to see funerals with only a video camera in attendance in the near future. The other drawback, of course, is the possibility of technology going wrong. It’s bad enough if an internet connection breaks down at a key moment when watching a Netflix series, so if it happens at a key moment of a funeral it could be extremely distressing.

One Way Or Two Way

Although live streams are generally one way feeds only, meaning the virtual mourners have no need to dress up or join in with hymns, the technology is already in use which allows for a fully interactive experience. Some people now bring in laptops to Skype family overseas during the ceremony allowing them to physically join in with proceedings as if they were actually in the room. They can even contribute by sharing a memory or making a tribute to the deceased.

Whether we believe that remote funerals are the way forward or whether we hold a more traditionalist view, the fact remains that it is likely that technology is going to inch its way further into every element of our lives, including our memorials. Yet with more of us living further away from our loved ones, the latest advancements could be the best way for us to deal with the process of loss even when we live on the other side of the world.

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