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How to Create an Online Memorial for a Departed Loved One

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A memorial candle burning in the dark.

Online memorials, which have become increasingly popular in the age of COVID, is a great way to celebrate and honor the life of a departed loved one. Thousands of families have created them in 2020, especially those who didn’t get the opportunity to have a proper funeral because of the pandemic.

What is an Online Memorial? An online memorial is a website created for a deceased person that provides a central location where their family and friends can visit to share stories, fond memories, photographs, comfort one another and grieve. The memorial can remain online for life, or a specific period of time, allowing people to visit and contribute any time in the privacy of their own space.

Online memorials started popping up on the Internet in the late 1990s but were created primarily for people who were well known. But now, these sites are for anyone who wants to pay tribute to their departed family member or friend and ensure they will be remembered.

Content typically posted on an online memorial includes a biography, pictures and stories from family and friends, timelines of key events in their life, along with favorite music and even videos.

Another common feature is an online guestbook where visitors sign their names and write tributes to the departed. Online memorials can also direct visitors to the departed person’s favorite charity or cause to make a donation, as an alternative to sending funeral flowers.

Some online memorial sites today even offer virtual funeral/event capabilities as a replacement for an in-person funeral. And they’ll help you get the word out by offering invitations and RSVP tracking.

Top Online Memorials To make an online memorial there are a wide variety of websites available that make it easier than ever to create a thoughtful, personalized profile for your loved one to celebrate and honor their life, and the process of creating it can be very satisfying.

You also need to know that some online memorial sites are completely free to use, while others offer a free and a paid version that provides additional features.

Some of the best sites that offer both free and paid options are iLasting.com (free or $49/year or $99 for a lifetime membership).

Or, if you’re interested in one that’s completely free to use, some top options are GatheringUs.com (they do charge for virtual events), Memories.net, WeRemember.com.

Memorialize Facebook If your loved one used Facebook, you can also turn his or her profile into a memorialized account for free when you show proof of death. This option will let family and friends share stories, photos or memories to celebrate your loved one’s life, with the word “Remembering” shown next to his or her name.

Once her account is memorialized, the content shared is still visible on Facebook to the audience it was originally shared with, however, their profile will not show up in public spaces such as people he or she may know, ads or birthday reminders.

In addition, you can also request a Look Back video, which is a short video created by Facebook highlighting your loved one’s pictures and most liked status messages.

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