Archive for the ‘General’ category
Saturday 13th November 2010 by Louise Carron Harris, 2 comments
So forget heading off to the cemetery to pop some flowers on your loved ones grave sitting there and reminiscing in your own head - what about pulling out your phone and checking out their old facbook pages, twitter updates blogs etc on the virtual grave – its all possible with a bit of bluetooth technology
it’s the kinda tombstone with Bluetooth and solar panels and stores your logs; friends and family can come over and access your virtual life from it and keep each other updated with anecdotes about you by uploading their stories to the tombstone. !!!
Yes I know, this is going to make lot of people go ‘ooooh what a horrid idea’ but i have to admit – I love it, being an avid facebooker , blogger and twitterer I love the idea becase so much of our lives are impressed upon the internet.
What do you think??
Wednesday 13th October 2010 by Louise Carron Harris, 3 comments
It’s not often you come across a really good website that is the online face of a funeral director. There really are very few out there, and I am often dumbfounded to the reason why. Maybe they just don’t need the business, maybe they shy away from the Internet, I don’t know!
Most people in the UK these days do their research online (well 38.8 million internet users do in fact). See the stats here. It’s the over 50′s that are driving the surge of internet users in the UK. 1 in 4 internet users are over 50! These are the people who are searching the net for the right funeral director.
So what websites ARE out there? Well this morning (very randomly) I found a great Funeral Directors website up in my computer browser - familytreefunerals.co.uk They offer a wonderful website with clear information, help and advise. Its a nice design, easy to navigate and has a lovely tone to it. It must be good because its recommended by the Good Funeral Guide!
I am sure they will lead by example to the rest of the industry out there… COME ON FUNERAL DIRECTORS GET YOUR WEBSITES IN ORDER.
CarronMedia.com are a great company to contact for funeral industry websites. Having designed and developed the Sentiment website, the Sentiment Farewells website and The Good Funeral Guide website as they know just what tone to take. Drop them a line for a FREE quote. 0845 180 0836 or email them on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday 12th October 2010 by Louise Carron Harris, No comments
My Last Song contacted me to find out my own 5 funeral song choices and the reason why I have chosen them for my Farewell.
Naturally being a music lover I have a Spotify play list of about 120 songs! So I had to refer to my funeral plan to see what the top 5 were.
Here is a link to my top 5 with a link to the track and the personal reason for choice.
Wednesday 6th October 2010 by Louise Carron Harris, 1 comment
Anyone who reads Sentiment’s Blog will know how much we love music. Music is the driving force for Sentiment’s existence – That is why we love ‘My Last Song’
Music was also the driving force behind My Last Song, but it’s not all music! My Last Song have got bigger and better over the past few years and their recent updated website makes it crystal clear what they are all about.
Their ‘Lifebox’ is now a fantastic way to store your online funeral plans and all the things that are important to you from funeral track lists to special photos and your funeral wishes. You can even access advice and information based about all things ‘funeral’ .
Take a gander at their site – If you like the internet and use of online storage than you’ll love My Last Song . (And be sure to participate in their Poll on the right hand side of their website)
Monday 20th September 2010 by Louise Carron Harris, 2 comments
I was reading the latest update on the Palliative care blog – Dying at Home Is Better For Cancer Patients and Their Families
It got me thinking about birth and death – such ends of the spectrum, yet both as important to plan for. Both in Birth and in Death, it’s our choice to choose the care we want, with or without the aid of doctors, hospitals and bureaucracy… isn’t it?
In Birth, women are advised to write a ‘birth plan’ as a general guideline for the midwives and doctors to ensure a labouring mother gets the care she wishes. It contains info such as: home or hospital birth, drugs or not etc.
In Death some people have a living will, often very simple documents stating personal preferences on resuscitation and the administration of life prolonging drugs., However these days you can find more comprehensive documents outlining your options. Fantastic Funerals and our sister company Sentiment Farewells both offer a more detailed Living Will section in their pre-planning documents, thus opening the door to discussing more details about death wishes, including desires to be at home or in hospital.
Home choices can often be limited due to care options, scaremongering and trends. However in the case of births, The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) support home births for women stating “There is ample evidence showing that labouring at home increases a woman’s likelihood of a birth that is both satisfying and safe, with implications for her health and that of her baby” .
And it seems this is the same in death as it is for birth: A new study confirms what hospice professionals have known for years: dying at home is better –both for the cancer patient and his/her family. The study, reported in the September 13th issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology, found that cancer patients who die in the hospital have worse quality of life than those who die at home. The study also found that caregivers of patients who die in the ICU are at an increased risk for developing psychiatric illnesses during the bereavement process, like PTSD.
At present more than 80 per cent of people express a wish to die in the comfort of their own home. But 60 per cent end up dying in hospital.
*With both of my babies, I requested a home birth because it felt the safest and most natural choice for me, as it turns out medically this was not possible, but I always felt empowered that I had that option. In death I feel the same , that we should all be aware of our options and of our rights to die at home… If we so choose.
Thursday 19th August 2010 by Louise Carron Harris, 5 comments
Once upon a time a wise old man asked me to do him a favour and my response was “I’ll do it tomorrow”, the wise old man responded in a low knowing tone “Louise, tomorrow never comes” …
OK, lets be honest. That old man was my old man! The conversation revolved around me tidying my bedroom and like most 15 year olds, I’d do anything other than tidy my bedroom!
At my wedding some 9 years later, my dad informed me (and the 150 guests in the room) that for years he used to pick all my underwear off my bedroom floor and throw it into a bin bag in the garages. He’d always planned on giving me the bin bag of underwear back, but he was bemused that after years I’d never asked where all my stuff was going! It seemed my diminishing wardrobe was something I just seemed to accept, maybe I just thought the washing machine had eaten them or maybe I just couldn’t be bothered to go looking for them!
So on my wedding day at the ripe old age of 24, my dad sent me on my way to a new life with a very good lesson… Procrastination has consequences. (and pick your shit up or you’ll lose it!!)
Come on then, own up, how many of you have got a pile of ‘stuff’ that needs sorting, a box of photos that are sat under the stairs, a box of old videos that you fully intend to sort out, a drawn full of ‘stuff’ and box’s of ‘things’ the kids made that you don’t really want but just cant throw away?
The art of procrastination is deep within most people, and its not just the mundane boring things like cleaning the cutlery drawer that we put off until tomorrow, It’s the important things too – things that if never done will have some very sad consequences (sorting and backing up photos, organising the old videos and documenting family history, etc).
We often only see the mountain, therefore we don’t even attempt to start chipping away – why not?
How many people do you know that say they’re going to do something important and meaningful such as…
- Calling an old friend
- Going to see Auntie Agatha (the last remaining relative on their Grandmothers side) to find out some family history.
- Sitting their mum down and getting her to write down all the people in the family photo from 1960
- Chasing an old friend for the video they took at their wedding
- Giving an old friend some photos they’ve been asking for for 5 years
- Getting a copy of a photo of their best friend from when they were 10 years old
- Organising their photos into albums
- Putting all their videos together and sending them off to be them edited and transferred into watchable digital footage.
- Writing letters and stories to their children
… but never quite get round to it! Then all of a sudden someone close dies and well, bugger.. now its too late!?
Even super women like myself *chuckle chukle* always have an excuse of why we’ve not done tasks, after all I’ve not updated my blog for nearly 2 weeks *tut tut tut* and my excuse is ” I’ve just had a baby and I’m still running a business” … But isn’t there always an excuse?
Today, please take away a bit of advise:
1) Imagine having done all those things you mean to have done – how would you feel?
2) Start a project - If you popped your clogs tomorrow at least your kids would have an idea of what those 100 photos are of even if they don’t know what the other 2,000 are!
3) Back up back up back up. It takes few seconds everyday to back up your files – if you don’t have an external hard dive buy one – from Amazon
4) Use digital photo sites like picasa
5) Share videos and photos from friends using dropbox
6) Start working on memory books and digital photo albums – if you want hassle free, high end, professionally organised, designed and printed memory books then on then come us Sentiment Ltd – or if you want to do it yourself then try photobox and snapfish
7) Send all your old video and cine film to be transfered - you can use digital copycat or come to us at Sentiment Ltd to edit all the best bits with music and interviews to make something truly special
9) Phone your aunt for that long awaited chat – you may learn somthing and make her very happy in the process.
10) Tell someone you love them.
So whats your plan? what are you going to do with all this ‘stuff’? Has tomorrow finally arrived?
Monday 19th July 2010 by Louise Carron Harris, 5 comments
When my mom’s old friend died a few months back it seemed that in those weeks surrounding her death Facebook continuously suggested that I become friends with her – I found it eerie that it had never happened before and now that she was dead she was there almost every day on Facebook smiling away at me suggesing I become her friend!
In truth I liked it, it reminded me of her and reminded me of what her kids were going through, reminded me to drop them an email and see how they were getting on, (and also to call my own mom to tell her I loved her). However in time she sort of faded away from Facebook.
Having read the New York Times article (from the Connecting Directors blog) today that addresses this issue, I decided to see what had happened to her account . It is in fact, still live. I wondered if her family knew what to do with it and this got me thinking what I’d want my family to do with my own account. Personally, I’d like my account to be left up, then my friends and family can still message me and look at all my old photos and shenanigans – Maybe they’ll be wireless in heaven so I can plug in and have a read – Id like to think so
So what do you do when a family member dies? Maybe you just want to leave things as they are in the land of social network… but did you know that you can memorialize a Facebook profile:
Here’s how – We’ve taken the information direct from Facebook
Please report this information here so that we can memorialize this person’s account. Memorializing the account removes certain more sensitive information like status updates and restricts profile access to confirmed friends only. Please note that in order to protect the privacy of the deceased user, we cannot provide login information for the account to anyone. We do honour requests from close family members to close the account completely.
Removing the account:
Immediate family members may request the removal of a loved one’s account. This will completely remove the account from Facebook so that no one can view it. We will not restore the account or provide information on its content unless required by law. If you are requesting a removal and are not an immediate family member of the deceased, your request will not be processed, but the account will be memorialized.
What would you like to happen with your own Facebook account? Does anyone have your login details so they could access it if needs be and how comfortable would to feel if you saw your recently deceased best friend pop up to reconnect with you? or do you feel that facebook is for the living and online memorials best left to websites such as MuchLoved
The New York Times article below addresses the issues.
As Facebook Users Die, Ghosts Reach Out
Courtney Purvin got a shock when she visited Facebook last month. The site was suggesting that she get back in touch with an old family friend who played piano at her wedding four years ago.
The friend had died in April.
“It kind of freaked me out a bit,” she said. “It was like he was coming back from the dead.”
Facebook, the world’s biggest social network, knows a lot about its roughly 500 million members. Its software is quick to offer helpful nudges about things like imminent birthdays and friends you have not contacted in a while. But the company has had trouble automating the task of figuring out when one of its users has died.
That can lead to some disturbing or just plain weird moments for Facebook users as the site keeps on shuffling a dead friend through its social algorithms.
Facebook says it has been grappling with how to handle the ghosts in its machine but acknowledges that it has not found a good solution.
“It’s a very sensitive topic,” said Meredith Chin, a company spokeswoman, “and, of course, seeing deceased friends pop up can be painful.” Given the site’s size, “and people passing away every day, we’re never going to be perfect at catching it,” she added.
James E. Katz, a professor of communications at Rutgers University, said the company was experiencing “a coming-of-age problem.”
“So many of Facebook’s early users were young, and death was rare and unduly tragic,” Mr. Katz said.
Now, people over 65 are adopting Facebook at a faster pace than any other age group, with 6.5 million signing up in May alone, three times as many as in May 2009, according to the research firm comScore. People over 65, of course, also have the country’s highest mortality rate, so the problem is only going to get worse.
Tamu Townsend, a 37-year-old technical writer in Montreal, said she regularly received prompts to connect with acquaintances and friends who had died.
“Sometimes it’s quite comforting when their faces show up,” Ms. Townsend said. “But at some point it doesn’t become comforting to see that. The service is telling you to reconnect with someone you can’t. If it’s someone that has passed away recently enough, it smarts.”
Ms. Purvin, a 36-year-old teacher living in Plano, Tex., said that after she got over the initial jolt of seeing her friend’s face, she was happy for the reminder.
“It made me start talking about him and thinking about him, so that was good,” she said. “But it was definitely a little creepy.”
Facebook’s approach to the deaths of its users has evolved over time. Early on it would immediately erase the profile of anyone it learned had died.
Ms. Chin says Facebook now recognizes the importance of finding an appropriate way to preserve those pages as a place where the mourning process can be shared online.
Following the Virginia Tech shootings in 2007, members begged the company to allow them to commemorate the victims. Now member profiles can be “memorialized,” or converted into tribute pages that are stripped of some personal information and no longer appear in search results. Grieving friends can still post messages on those pages.
Of course, the company still needs to determine whether a user is, in fact, dead. But with a ratio of roughly 350,000 members to every Facebook employee, the company must find ways to let its members and its computers do much of that work.
For a site the size of Facebook, automation is “key to social media success,” said Josh Bernoff, an analyst at Forrester Research and co-author of “Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies.”
“The way to make this work in cases where machines can’t make decisions is to tap into the members,” he said, pointing to Facebook’s buttons that allow users to flag material they find inappropriate. “One way to automate the ‘Is he dead’ problem is to have a place where people can report it.”
That’s just what Facebook does. To memorialize a profile, a family member or friend must fill out a form on the site and provide proof of the death, like a link to an obituary or news article, which a staff member at Facebook will then review.
But this option is not well publicized, so many profiles of dead members never are converted to tribute pages. Those people continue to appear on other members’ pages as friend suggestions, or in features like the “reconnect” box, which has been spooking the living since it was introduced last October.
Ms. Chin said Facebook was considering using software that would scan for repeated postings of phrases like “Rest in peace” or “I miss you” on a person’s page and then dispatch a human to investigate that account.
“We are testing ways to implement software to address this,” she said. “But we can’t get it wrong. We have to do it correctly.”
The scanning approach could invite pranks — as the notification form already has. A friend of Simon Thulbourn, a software engineer living in Germany, found an obituary that mentioned someone with a similar name and submitted it to Facebook last October as evidence that Mr. Thulbourn was dead. He was soon locked out of his own page.
“When I first ‘died,’ I went looking around Facebook’s help pages, but alas, they don’t seem to have a ‘I’m not really dead, could I have my account back please?’ section, so I opted for filling in every form on their Web site,” Mr. Thulbourn said by e-mail.
When that didn’t work, Mr. Thulbourn created a Web page and posted about it on Twitter until news of the mix-up began to spread on technology blogs and the company took notice. He received an apology from Facebook and got his account back.
The memorializing process has other quirks. Memorial profiles cannot add new friends, so if parents joined the site after a child died, they would not have permission to see all the messages and photos shared by the child’s friends.
These are issues that Facebook no doubt wishes it could avoid entirely. But death, of course, is unavoidable, and so Facebook must find a way to integrate it into the social experience online.
“They don’t want to be the bearer of bad tidings, but yet they are the keeper of those living memories,” Mr. Katz, the Rutgers professor, said. “That’s a real downer for a company that wants to be known for social connections and good news.”
Wednesday 19th May 2010 by Louise Carron Harris, No comments
I love Chiltern Woodland Burial Park, I love the energy, the feel, the design of the buildings, and the fact it is so welcoming and beautiful so you can just turn up for a nice walk in the woodland.
As I sat listening to Bill explaining that if we start to really understand someone’s loss then we can begin to understand their grief, I watched 2 squirrels chasing each other up and down the trees, the birds flying round outside and the sunshine through the trees – sound corny? yes maybe I do, but it was beautiful and what I feel the woodland is about- death, life, nature, peace, comfort
I feel that the woodland brings a certain element of peace to suffering souls - loved ones will never come back and that’s by far the one thing we want most , but somehow being so close to nature sends a a blanket of comfort and peace… or maybe that’s just me being sentimental!
Dr Bill Webster is a captivating speaker, he had a great analogy of loss being like a lined up of dominions – you lose your husband and bit by bit there is domino effect where you lose so many more elements of life, from having a cup of tea in bed every morning to your independence, lifestyles, home and even possessions. When you understand the elements of someones loss and underand that life will never ever be the same for that person again then you understand that there is no time scale for their grief to subside, and we cannot expect people to start to ‘ just get on with life’ after 6 months…
After Bills talk there was a horse drawn cart waiting outside with 2 stunning white horses to take everyone round the woodland – I opted out of this due to the fact I may give birth any second and didn’t think a horse and carriage would be a great idea – and if I’m honest I’d see the spread of cakes that was laid out in the that the gathering hall and rushed in to taste what was possibly the best Victoria sponge i have had! - I proceeded to eat like only a heavily pregnant can get away with!