There is no question that we live in a digital age. Technology keeps advancing each year, and it has certainly made the lives of Bay Area families easier in a number of ways. It has also allowed us to remain connected to people who live in other states or even countries. It has even impacted how we approach planning funerals and memorial services. But you might hear people bemoan our dependence on technology from time to time, and our culture has even seen a resurgence in the popularity of “vintage” forms of technology such as rotary phones, vinyl albums, Polaroid cameras, and more.
Here at Cypress Lawn, we are known for our focus on and deep connection to Bay Area and California history, but we are also always looking for new ways to innovate, so we can always offer the most meaningful and progressive forms of memorialization for the families we serve. Our team views technology primarily as a tool we need to effectively harness in order to help you tell your own story through preplanning or your loved one’s story when the time comes.
We have rolled out a number of new ways this past year, and in recent years, for families to utilize to begin building their family legacy. Here are just a few of those tools:
1.) Video Tributes
With incredible advancements in the quality of phone cameras, and nearly unlimited digital storage options, it’s now common for families to amass thousands of photos a year. Each one of these files represents a moment in time – a memory made with friends and family. These precious snapshots, when edited together and paired with meaningful music, can add an incredibly personal and poignant moment to a visitation, reception, memorial, or funeral service. The video tributes our team can help you create will paint a vivid, digital portrait of your loved one’s life and the moments you shared together.
50 years ago, when a loved one passed away, a steady stream of phone calls was the method people would use to alert friends and family of the death. An obituary was published in the local paper to alert the community. Once neighbors and friends heard of the death, they would either make phone calls or send cards, or letters of sympathy, to express their love and support to the bereaved family. In 2017, many of those things still happen. But there has been a major shift in notifying others about a death and expressing condolences online.
We have an entire section of our website dedicated to online obituaries. The families we serve, and their friends, have the ability to share an obituary instantly to Facebook, Twitter, or nearly every social media platform that exists – or email it to someone. While this can create challenges, we sidestep awkwardness by assuring an online obituary does not go live on our website until the family has alerted those closest to them and are ready to announce it to the public. Once you see a family member of the deceased share an online obituary to a social media platform, it is perfectly appropriate for you to share it to your own page, as well as comment on the post to express your sympathy. While some might still prefer the personal touch of a call or handwritten note, social media does allow for almost instant encouragement and love for the person who shares the obituary.
3.) Family Websites
One of our most exciting moments of 2017 at Cypress Lawn was the rollout of our family websites. When you choose Cypress Lawn, you gain access to a unique, customizable website – one of the first of its kind – that is like a time capsule of your life. This digital repository of words, photos, memories, and other family information will be available to future generations of your family. Different members of your family from across the globe can contribute to the page and help build your family tree. They can share stories, family photos, news clippings or other documents, or military and health information. And you only share the website with those you choose, so your family’s privacy is always protected. It’s an important step in making sure your family’s story is told for years to come.
4.) Cemetery 360
With our Cemetery 360 tool, it doesn’t matter where you live, you can always feel close to your loved one’s final resting place. By simply searching for them by name, you can view exactly where they lay. You can also share the link with others who want to pay their respects, but perhaps can’t travel to be physically present at the gravesite.
Technology. If we’re not careful, it can become our master. But with a little wisdom and a little care, it can also become a beautiful tool of connection, with the power to weave the story of a lifetime.