Why live streamed funerals are becoming more popular
In today’s world, we expect just about everything to be online and on-demand. We watchmovies instantly through Netflix, hail rides through Uber and shop any hour of the day or night thanks to online retailers. It’s no surprise that these technological advancements have made their way into the funeral industry.
Someone’s passing traditionally means confirming the location of the service and finding your way there by plane, train or automobile. However, attending the funeral isn’t always possible. As much as you might want to pay your last respects, you may not have the opportunity to do so for every family member or close friend.
This is where technology is stepping in. Live streaming is when audio and video are sent over the web in real time. For a funeral service this means setting up cameras and microphones so the event can be made available for anyone to watch via a computer, smart phoneor other internet enabled device.While not a new idea, streaming funerals has become more popular over the past several years. With the evolution of technology and improvements in internet connections, the process of livestreaming funerals is now much simpler and accessible to a wider audience.
Why are funerals live streamed?
While some might consider the idea of livestreaming a funeral tasteless, others see the advantage of providing such a service.There are many reasons why someone may be unable to attend the service in person, but would still like to be there in more than just spirit.
Death can happen suddenly, and circumstances may prevent some from attending the service. It’s not uncommon to be living on the opposite side of the world from your family. You might not be able to afford the trip (especially if advance payment, such as funeral insurance, wasn’t arranged and the family is already struggling to pay for the service itself).Sometimes, you simply can’t get enough time off work to make the lengthy trip on short notice. Live streaming a funeral may also help those who are seriously ill or housebound be a part of the day.
For those embracing live-streamed funerals, it isn’t about convenience for those who don’t feel like going out that day or are trying to avoid grief. It’s another way to make funerals more accessible for everyone who wishes to attend.
The growth of live-streamed funerals
While improvements to technology have helped drive the demand for live-streamed funerals, so too has the secularization of the funeral industry. What was for many the last bastion of religious practice has become a more modern celebration of someone’s life.
Priests and religious figures may be replaced by a funeral director or secular celebrant. The service itself may no longer be performed inside a church, but instead ata funeral home or graveside. Instead of playing traditional hymns, the family may decide to play their loved one’s favourite pop hit as they say goodbye.This shift away from more religious services has opened the door to incorporating new concepts and traditions into funeral services.
Less religious or entirely secular services have helped people embrace the idea of live streaming the day as well. Now even those who can’t be there can gain some closure or express their condolences through the internet.
Online funeral etiquette
Like any funeral, live-streamed services also have their etiquette. Following guidelines as if you wereattending in person are generally a good idea. Be there early, even though you’re logging in from somewhere else. This is important, if only because you’ll probably want to avoid troubleshooting a poor internet connection after the service has started.
Dress appropriately.While this might seem like overkill for an online funeral, some services have options for web cams to be enabled.It’s possible that those attending in person or also joining the live stream maybe able to see you. Also, dressing as you would for any funeral could help you get into the right frame of mind and feel as if you’re there.
Lastly, avoid multitasking during the service. Giving the funeral your full attention is not only respectful, but it could also help you gain some closure on your own grieving. Though you may be surrounded by distractions—your phone, social media, television, even pets—do your best to minimise these during the service.
A new way to say goodbye
Though live-streamed funerals can feellike attending a service in person, it’s unlikely they’ll ever completely replace these solemn events. People still want to physically be there to pay their last respects. Live-streamed funerals simply make it easier for those who can’t attend to do this. This service can be a welcome add-on for family and friends who might otherwise miss this opportunity.
After all, funerals can be about the people that are left behind as much as the life they are honouring. Allowing everyone to come together to celebrate a loved one’slife is important to grieving family and friends. It doesn’t really matter if that togetherness is physical or digital, it’s the thoughtthat count.