By Rochelle Rietow
So, you’re a funeral professional, and you’ve got a pretty good idea of what makes your products and services valuable to your families. And if you’re really good at what you do, you’ve probably memorized the value statements for all of your products and know how to pitch your families on just about everything.
But did you know that there are valuable products out there that can actually inspire and help your families, even when you’re not around? For example, funeral products that can bring light to the darkness, not just for family, but for friends and loved ones all over the world. This is something I’ve spent some time thinking about, particularly when it comes to the value behind social memorial pages.
Since releasing our own social memorial websites over a decade ago, I’ve spent a great deal of time observing the true meaning and value that they bring to families – both during and after the funeral service. I’ve seen them turned into books that families keep on their coffee table. Heck, I’ve even seen them printed and kept on people’s desks as a reminder that they can get through their grief. And through all of these observations, I’ve come up with a few foundational ways that social memorial websites have added value to families’ lives over the years, and ways they can add value to yours, too.
1. Continue the conversation of life after death
If you’ve ever lost someone, you may have had an experience like this before: You’re doing something that reminds you of your loved one and really want to tell them about it, but you can’t… who do you share it with? That’s where social memorial websites come in. They give you a space to write these thoughts, experiences and messages down. And when it comes to grieving, we all know the only way to heal is to speak your heart.
Another great feature of social memorial pages? People will see the message you wrote to your loved one and recognize it, respond to it, or maybe even share a new memory that they, themselves, created with your loved one. And they will be able to do this on your website for days, weeks, and even years to come, as f1Connect’s social memorial pages are hosted online forever. After all, the healing process is never really over, and we believe your family should be able to always come back to their loved one’s memorial page to reflect and share memories whenever they need to. It’s an ongoing conversation, and a really important one.
2. Help families receive continuous support and healing
While going through a few social memorial websites, I read a message that someone wrote on their co-worker’s social memorial page when they heard the news of his passing. Once they came across the memorial page, they decided to share their own story of the co-worker, and what he meant to them. This gave the loved one’s mother, Cindi, a glimpse into a new story about her son that she had never heard before.
The situation might not have played out like this if it had happened any other way, or on any other platform. The co-worker may have been alone in his grief, because he wouldn’t have had this healing outlet to share his story and he may not have known about the funeral. And the mother may have never heard the heart-warming, caring story about her son if his co-worker wouldn’t have shared his sympathy online.
Social memorial pages allow us to do things a bit differently than we did before. Maybe we can even grieve in a more complete way because we have access to more memories, more people, and more support. In this case, I think it’s especially true.
3. Family and friends can see the real impact of their loved one’s life
One of the biggest advantages of a social memorial page is that they allow family and friends to share their own stories and memories of how a loved one affected their lives. This process is not only healing for the people who are sharing these moments, but also for the family of the loved one who may be hearing these stories for the first time. After all, it’s powerful to read just how many lives have been touched and changed just from the impact of one person.
One great example of this is the social memorial page for Benjamin Wheeler, a six-year-old who passed away in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy that made national headlines. Even though his death occurred back in 2012, many people are still leaving stories and memories of how his life and his story have touched them on his social memorial page.
Just read the following message written on Benjamin’s social memorial page, from a family in Australia who heard about Benjamin’s tale and felt compelled to share their own story with those closest to him.
4. They can help in unexpected, surprising ways
I’ll never forget the day that one of funeralOne’s employees ran up to me in tears and said, “Come quick, you have to see this!” She just witnessed a powerful moment that, through a twist of fate, could have only happened because of the existence of the social memorial websites our team created.
What had happened was, a man had been searching for a friend who he hadn’t seen in years (maybe even decades) and thought he had disappeared. After long hours spent on Google, he came across his friend’s social memorial page on a funeral home’s website. Finding out that his friend had passed away was sad news, but ultimately, it gave him closure to an unclosed chapter in his life. And through reading all the wonderful messages friends and family wrote on his tribute wall, he was able to feel close to his friend one last time.
This story goes to show that, when you introduce a new way to grieve and share memories, unexpected things will occur that help your families heal and remember, long after they step out of your funeral home.
How else will social memorial websites add value to your families?
As you can see, social memorial websites can play a pretty amazing part in families’ lives. And the great thing is, they’re only just beginning to change the way we deal with life, death and grief. In the future, social memorial websites could become an important, if not essential, part of our stages of grief. And with an ever-growing integration between our lives and technology, it’s pretty amazing to think about all the possibilities.
If you’d like to see the value of f1Connect’s social memorial websites first hand, be sure to click here and find out more about the website features your families are craving.
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