Sending a Message from Beyond the Grave
These days, it is not uncommon for advance funeral planning to take on a macabre kind of entertainment. In an age when some people hold “living funerals” to say their goodbyes while they are still among us, and when you can pre-order a customized casket in bright colors or over-the-top themes, why not also consider sending a message that won’t be received until you have long since passed on?
Sending messages from beyond the grave is nothing new. We have all heard the heartbreaking stories of a parent with a terminal illness writing letters to the child they never got to see grow up. Videos and voice recordings take this idea one step further, providing a personal connection that can be cherished for a lifetime. But in these cases, there is usually an extenuating circumstance propelling the motive. A terminal illness, a new baby, a deployment to a dangerous warzone—these things move us to take extraordinary steps to preserve our memories.
There is no limit to how or why you can send these types of messages, and online providers are making things easier on the average consumer. As is the case with any type of funeral service that you pre-pay for, however, make sure you are working with a trusted company that won’t simply promise something and fail to deliver.
- Pre-purchased flowers and other sympathy-type gifts delivered for special occasions. These can be sent for the funeral itself, or for special occasions like an anniversary or important birthday.
- Letters, videos, or voice recordings. Stick with the traditional and low-cost by writing letters or making a video at home. These have the benefit of being able to be handed to a relative for safekeeping until the appointed time.
- Family secrets. One way to make your gift from beyond the grave unique is to share a family secret (like a favorite recipe or a fun fact that no one knew about you). These can be shared during holidays or other gathered family times.
- Notes left in favorite books or movies. If you want to keep suspense and mystery going, you can put handwritten notes inside a book or a movie case. When they are found, they can provide a touching tribute and memorial.
Considerations of Beyond-the-Grave Messages
This kind of gesture isn’t right for everyone. What may seem like a good joke or fun project while you are still alive could be especially difficult for those you leave behind—especially since you cannot know for sure how your death will affect them over the long-term.
Make sure you know your recipients well enough to understand how your messages will be received, and always make sure important information (like your will or other financial arrangements) is accessible through the appropriate channels.
Please share your thoughts on this article
One of the most often overlooked steps in funeral planning is communicating the passing of a loved one to others. While an obituary will do a good job of notifying the general community of the death, including where they can send flowers or attend a ... more »