“I’m always relieved when someone is delivering a eulogy and I realize I’m listening to it.”

George Carlin

What an honor it is to be asked to give the eulogy at a loved one’s funeral. However, when the time comes to fill solemnity with spoken memories, most of us experience a brain freeze. We find ourselves at a loss of how to convey the right sentiment and gratitude while addressing funeral guests. It is very difficult to speak deeper feelings without hitting too close to home and exposing our soft underbellies, which may not be appropriate depending on the specific situation.

So when you are asked to present a few words in eulogy, where do you begin? Here are some tips to follow to insure you present the words which will honor your loved one with respect and convey your regard.

Now you can begin writing your memorial by linking the things chosen from your loved one’s life with your thoughts and feelings, weaving everything together. Write the eulogy from beginning to end without pausing to contemplate. Doing this allows heart-felt creativity to lead the way.

There are two different ways to prepare for speaking. Either rewrite your speech so that you can read it word for word or loosely structure your notes with the intent of allowing your words to flow when the time comes.

Don’t be afraid to use humor. In fact, using a mixture of sad and funny is usually best. A line from the film “Steel Magnolias” sums it up: “My favorite emotion is laughter through tears.”

If you need further inspiration, read these famous examples:

Anna Quindlen for Her Grandmother, Kitty O’Connell Quindlen

“My grandmother was rather vain, and I loved her for it. Her favorite stories concerned her own charms: how she weighed 96 pounds until the third of her eight children was born, how some man tried to pick her up on the street even though she was pushing a baby carriage with a toddler on either side of it, how the nicest boys clamored to date her, particularly August LaForte, he of the wonderful manners and fine clothes. Once I asked her why she had chosen instead the rather dour young man, as she described him, who was my grandfather. `I don’t know,’ she said with a sigh. `I don’t think I could have hardly stood him at all if he hadn’t played the piano.’ ”

Charles Spencer for His Sister Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales

“Diana was the very essence of compassion, of duty, of style, of beauty. All over the world she was a symbol of selfless humanity, a standard-bearer for the rights of the truly downtrodden, a truly British girl who transcended nationality, someone with a natural nobility who was classless, who proved in the last year that she needed no royal title to continue to generate her particular brand of magic.”

Author Norman Mailer for Himself

Norman Mailer passed away yesterday after celebrating his fifteenth divorce and sixteenth wedding. ‘I just don’t feel the old vim,’ complained the writer recently… At the author’s bedside were eleven of his fifteen ex-wives, twenty-two of his twenty-four children, and five of his seven grandchildren, of whom four are older than six of their uncles and aunts… When asked, on occasion why he married so often, the former Pulitzer Prize winner replied, ‘To get divorced. You don’t know anything about a woman until you meet her in court.’”

If you plan ahead, you can be like Norman Mailer and write your own. Plus, you can list who you want to read it at the funeral. Willbox.me can help you make all the necessary arrangements. In fact, willbox.me can help you organize virtually everything to do to prepare.  For help with your digital afterlife, online legacy, electronic will, virtual safe deposit box, online asset protection or anything else you may need, go to willbox.me.

 

In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Ophelia gives a monologue containing the names of plants and flowers which are rich with symbolism. She does so while grieving her unquestionable loss.

Ophelia. There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance. Pray you, love, remember. And there is pansies, that’s for thoughts…There’s fennel for you, and columbines. There’s rue for you, and here’s some for me. We may call it herb of grace o’ Sundays. O, you must wear your rue with a difference! There’s a daisy. I would give you some violets, but they wither’d all when my father died. They say he made a good end. [sings] For bonny sweet Robin is all my joy.

Ophelia dies following this speech. Her references to flowers illustrate strong symbolism.

Flowers have spoken their own language throughout history and continue to do so today. When choosing flowers to convey your feelings for a deceased loved one, consider the symbolism. In combination, flowers can speak your heart.

Carnations (Strength, Faithfulness)

Carnations have long symbolized admiration and love. White is pure adoration, light red is impeccable admiration and dark red is deep affection. When sending carnations, you affirm your profound love and affection for the deceased.

Chrysanthemums (Loyalty, Lamentation)

The literal meaning is “gold flower,” indicating special value.  White mums symbolize lamentation, so chrysanthemum flowers are given to mourners as tokens offered up to comfort those who grieve. Red mums signify love and white mums symbolizes chaste loyalty.

Daffodils (Cheerfulness, Hope)

Yellow tulips and daffodils bloom in the spring, therefore they symbolize rebirth, fresh starts and new beginnings. These are perfect flowers for those who grieve because they represent hope for the future.

Gladiolus (Strength, Faithfulness)

The origin of the term “gladiolus” is “sword,” because of its tall flower and slender leaf shape. Gladioli symbolize moral integrity and remembrance. White gladioli express purity, while yellow gladioli express friendship. Sending these flowers indicate that you will always remember the person’s regal strength and honorable integrity.

Ivy (Immortality, Eternal Life)

Ivy is evergreen and as such conveys ongoing power and life.

Lily (Purity, Majesty)

White lilies symbolize the pure soul’s journey to the majesty of heaven.

Orchid (Everlasting Love)

Pink and white convey sympathy, so be sure to choose a combination of these colors. Because orchids are a live plant, they symbolize feelings which will continue on.

Roses (Love)

Roses are used in most funeral flower arrangements. They convey love, with the color specifying what type of love you have for the deceased.

Tulip (Perfect Love)

Tulips represent elegance and grace. Yellow tulips represent hope and cheerfulness, while white tulips represents forgiveness.

You can send flowers to your own funeral and/or specify which flowers to have on hand. Willbox.me can help you make arrangements for your own funeral so your loved ones don’t have to make these solemn decisions. In addition, willbox.me can assist you with all other digital afterlife needs, including virtual wills, online legacies and asset protection needs. Go to willbox.me for more information.

 

Boxes_of_documents_on_repository_shelving_at_The_National_ArchivesWhen you die, your loved ones will face moving on through life without your physical presence. Usually there is initial shock accompanied by a series of important decisions to make. Your loved ones will want to make the right decisions—the choices that will please you the most. Of course, you will want them to have an easy time of it. No matter what, there will be a lot to make arrangements for.

To make it easier and less stressful for your loved ones, keep the information handy. This will prevent the need for long hours searching through desks, closets and shelves. There is much more to the process than you may think. Some documents your loved will require:

But you don’t have to do it alone. WillBox.me will show you the way to create an overall plan which will provide your loved ones with everything they need to move forward. WillBox.me provides services to help you manage digital assets, electronic wills and virtual accounts. Their unique encryption and confidentiality will insure an organized, online afterlife for your family and loved ones. Go to WillBox.me for more information.

 

 

final_cut_xlgIn the movie Final Cut, Robin Williams plays Alan Hakman, a man who edits memories for living. The premise is set in the future. Technology has advanced and allows implanted devices to record all the scenes in one’s life. When someone dies, Hakman downloads the memories and carefully edits them to compose a film which is shown at their funeral. Of course, only the best memories are depicted, while Hakman cuts the rest out. Hakman has sworn secrecy to the powers that be.

The idea is interesting to contemplate. We already know that we don’t remember events exactly as they happen. Our perceptions are our own and often depend on the emotions memories produce in us. To view someone’s life through their eyes takes much more than a visual and hearing device. We have to understand thought and motivation as well.

Is the technology moving towards the movie’s premise? Well, yes. A Swedish company called Memoto raised Kickstarter funds and developed a “life-logging” device. Now called Narrative Clip, the device is worn around your neck and takes five megapixel photos every two seconds and uploads them to a special server. Research shows that memories are improved and solidified after viewing a series of photos taken during an event. The catch is that the memory of the person wearing the device has the opportunity to improve their recollection, while others who see the photos will have their own version.

In addition, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology reported recently that they were able to create a false memory in a mouse. The researchers didn’t create a new memory, but they changed the memory of the location where the memory took place. They mice received an electrical shock in one location but were caused to remember the shock taking place in a different location.  Basically, the researchers applied new feelings to a memory. “It wasn’t so much writing a memory from scratch, it was basically connecting two different types of memories. We took a neutral memory, and we artificially updated that to make it a negative memory,” said Steve Ramirez, one of the M.I.T. neuroscientists on the project. The possibilities are far-reaching.

But despite our march toward our inevitable technological future, the best way to convey your true thoughts to those you love is to insure your feelings are communicated along with your memories. Human communication is the key. WillBox.me can help you organize your memories before mortality takes you from those who remain living. WillBox.me strives to give you the peace of mind that your thoughts will be protected and conveyed. For help with your digital afterlife, online legacy, electronic will, virtual safe deposit box or online asset protection, go to WillBox.me.

Family All Together At Christmas Dinner

Theirs is a chill in the air and the days are getting shorter. The harvest has been brought in and leaves are changing colors. We are on the verge of the holiday season and ready to celebrate with our family and friends. This is the time when you might see Uncle Joe and Aunt Edna for Christmas. Or perhaps all of your adult children will be together under one roof for Thanksgiving. Here are 4 important will information you need to know.

Though the subject is a little controversial for a celebratory occasion, this may be just the right time to speak about the circumstances surrounding impending mortality. Now, while everyone is together and able to converse. Death is a long-known truism. In fact, Shakespeare allows Hamlet to make emotional observation as he holds the skull of Yorick, one of his caretakers.

HAMLET:

“Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow
 of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath
 borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how
 abhorred in my imagination it is! my gorge rims at
 it. Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know
 not how oft.”

When Hamlet speaks fondly of Yorick, it is far too late. Yorick is no longer available to hold a conversation. How quickly this situation can become the one you find yourself in. Therefore, though death isn’t the most pleasant subject, it is important to take advantage of the times your family is together, including holidays such as Thanksgiving. In fact, you can argue that talking about these matters now will save the family a lot of grief and potential discord later. Specifically, there are a few very simpler, yet important matters which you can discuss during a holiday:

Advanced Directive

Everyone over 18 should have an advanced directive detailing what they want to happen in the event of deteriorating or serious injury. Any hospital staff member can tell you a horror story of family conflict occurring when health decisions have had to be made. One of the most well-known is Terri Schiavo who suffered cardiac arrest and lived in a vegetative state on life support for eight years until her husband got a court order to remove her feeding tube. Her parents fought to keep her alive. The case continued the familial battle until a court upheld the original order to remove the tube. The situation caused a tremendous amount of emotional pain for everyone involved. If Schiavo had signed an advanced directive, the conflict would have been moot.

Living Wills

No matter how close your family members are, there will be fighting over your effects. Sentimental and monetary concerns add more stress to an already difficult situation.  You can serve your family best by discussing issues sooner rather than later. Plus, if everyone is aware of how you want your body to be disposed of (such as cremation, natural burial, donated to science or any other method) you can avoid further argument.

Guardianships

Where children are involved plans for a guardianship is fundamental. However, care for beloved pets can result in arguments.

Digital Effects

Making sure your online passwords, user names and PIN numbers are accessible to insure all social media and digital assets can be taken care of.

There is no need to get into the details over turkey and stuffing, however, introducing discussion about these basics is easier when love abounds during the holidays—especially in light of avoiding any conflicts or lost relationships. Speak from a loving place and expect good things to follow.

Holidays like Thanksgiving are positive events designed to spend time together. Having family and loved ones presents us with the important task to continue love after loss. Therefore, it is important to leave our legacies. Providing our stories and expressing our final wishes is one way we continue a legacy of love and respect.

After prompting discussion, you don’t have to do things alone. Let WillBox.Me help you will all of your digital afterlife, online legacy, electronic will, asset protection and virtual safe deposit box needs.

 

In 2015 the users of Ashley Madison, a not so discreet dating service for married persons who want to cheat on their spouse, was hacked resulting in family turmoil, divorce and even suicide. The hackers exposed approximately 33 million site users. The fall-out for families has the potential to ruin relationships with spouses and children. As is always the case, the children will suffer the most. However, spouses, friends and coworker relationships will change as well.

The Ashley Madison hackers forced this situation upon the living, while your private interests and indiscretions may be discovered upon your death. Despite the fact that you are gone, your loved ones will live and may encounter emotional conflicts. Therefore, it is important to appoint someone you trust to take care of eliminating computer information which you want to keep private. At the same time, you need to appoint someone with enough technical knowledge to take care of things. Keep in mind that you must provide user names and passwords. This is where willbox.me can help.

The following are just a few of the several storage sites, browsing history and social media to consider:

Cloud Storage

Dropbox, iCloud, Google Docs and other storage sites allow you to save to the virtual world, wherever that may be (it’s anyone’s guess). You may have saved  correspondence, personal video, problematic photos, journals, letters, fiction, poetry, notes, yearly budgets, bank account information—essentially anything you don’t want to share which is virtually saved to any type of cloud services. Even if you have nothing to hide, you need to discontinue cloud services, specifically those with monthly storage fees.

Dating or “Hook-Up Apps

Ashley Madison is not the only site where you can register for dating or casual hook-ups with your fantasy person(s). There are several others, such as Tinder, Grindr, eHarmony, Farmers Only, Match, Zoosk, Our Time and OK Cupid. Again, you need to appoint someone you trust or a professional service to remove any questionable apps. Go to willbox.me for more information.

Social Media

Social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Linked-In and many others) have their own way of handling deceased accounts. For example, Facebook has added a “Legacy Contact” to their features. This allows you to appoint someone to memorialize or delete your Facebook account. On the other side, Pinterest has no strategy in place.

Money Accounts

Receivable accounts, such as Paypal, and credit paid accounts, such as Amazon, Ebay, Groupon and Overstock are very crucial. Bitcoin is becoming increasingly important and more valuable. In fact, you should make sure your loved one(s) inherit any bitcoin you have. Address any financial value in your legal will.

Hard Drives, Tablets, Phones

Computer files contain layers of data, rather than one level. Plus, word documents logs all actions taken while producing a particular file. Cell phone photographs carry photo location information.

One way to wipe computer hardware is to erase data in layers, putting equipment through the process several times. However, even using this method, complete erasure is getting more difficult. It is easier to reconstruct than you think. Therefore, the only sure way is to physically destroy the hardware and throw it overboard into a large body of water (preferably saltwater).

Important Tips:

Our digital fingerprints left in online social media spots, chat rooms, specialty stores, cloud storage, memberships and other sites spill your life out for all to see. Let WillBox.me put your mind at ease. WillBox.me can help you with all of your digital afterlife, online legacy, electronic will, virtual safe deposit box and online asset protection needs. Go to WillBox.me for more information. Now is always the best time to begin because you never know what will happen tomorrow.

The ways in which we connect and communicate online has transformed our very existence. In fact, you may have raised an eyebrow or two when you recognized and acknowledged your dependence on the internet. From your computer desk you can purchase holiday gifts, pay your electric bill, research vacation spots, chat with fellow hobbyists and/or read newspapers articles from around the world. Many people bank and budget online as well. However, every time you register with sites, enter your user name and choose a password, you leave digital fingerprints. The question is, “What happens to all the information left online when I die?” In the same way technology has changed life, the internet has changed death.

Now when writing your last will and testament, protecting and/or passing the information to someone you love and trust, you must consider all your online information and assets as well. This includes bank accounts, PayPal credit, iTunes music or income generating social media. If you don’t specify what should be done, the government can take control of the monies, or your assets may be categorized as “unclaimed” and sit forever waiting for someone to provide legal details (which will require processing fees).

First off, you need to sit down and list all of your relevant accounts along with user name(s) and passwords. This information will become part of your estate plan and needs to be kept updated. Don’t list this information within the will since the documents will be available to the public, and this can lead to hacking. Only a trusted estate appointee should have access. However, you will can spell out who will received said assets.

Other items to consider when writing your will include advanced health directive, guardianships for underage children or beloved pets and charitable bequeaths.

You don’t have to do this all alone. WillBox.me provides services to help you manage digital assets, electronic wills and virtual accounts. Their unique encryption and confidentiality will insure an organized, online afterlife for your family and loved ones. Go to WillBox.me for more information.

In the movie Final Cut, Robin Williams plays Alan Hakman, a man who edits memories for a living. The premise is set in the future. Technology has advanced and allows implanted devices to record all the scenes in one’s life. When someone dies, Hakman downloads the memories and carefully edits them to compose a film which is shown at their funeral. Of course, only the best memories are depicted, while Hakman cuts the rest out.

Though we don’t have microchips in our heads recording all our actions (yet), technology has made it difficult to preserve our individual privacy. As it stands, our loved ones can access scads of information we may not want anyone to know. Our personal computers, cell phones, iPods, iPads and other devices often hold our secrets. A few possibilities are: email correspondence, instant messaging conversations, personal video, downloaded movies, problematic photos, questionable (or bootleg) apps, private writings in Word (journals, letters, fiction, poetry, notes), yearly budgets, bank account information—essentially anything you don’t want to share.

The thing is that our thoughts and perceptions are unique, but we won’t be around to explain anything discovered. Our loved ones may reach their own conclusions from the limited information they have at hand. So what do you do?

Delete Files

The easiest, but least sure way, is deleting files. However, this can be cumbersome and isn’t a solution to address complete erasure. Plus, if any of your loved ones knows computers, (s)he may be able to reassemble your files and have the motivation to do so. First of all, you will require a well-trusted individual to erase the files upon your death and provide that individual with a detailed list of the file names and their file extensions to delete. Of course, it is better to choose someone knowledgeable to carry out your instructions. Willbox.me is a trusted, reliable site to utilize for these types of deletions. Willbox.me is dedicated to securing your information.

Wipe the Hard Drive Completely

If you feel strongly about keeping your information private, wiping the hard drive in its entirety is the way to go. The United States Department of Defense offers guidelines for choosing the best method. Go to http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistpubs/800-88/NISTSP800-88_with-errata.pdf and/or https://www.nsa.gov/ia/mitigation_guidance/media_destruction_guidance/ for more information.

What you will find at these sites is necessary, detailed, technical information.  However, unless you work within the computer industry, you may not understand the material. The most effective option is to choose professional guidance and administration. For this reason, your best move is to appoint someone reliable and knowledgeable to take charge upon your death. At willbox.me we take care of all aspects needed for your wishes to be carried out without unforeseen complications.

Go to willbox.me for information on keeping your privacy, establishing a virtual last will, leaving a digital legacy, creating a virtual safe deposit box and/or insuring online asset protection. Whether you use a PC or a Mac, willbox.me can take care of all your needs.

Death is a fascinating part of life. So much of our history, literature and art contemplate the perplexing complication of it all. Ancient traditions have come down through the ages and mingled with religious belief to create commemorative events. One such festival is El Dia de los Muerto, or Day of the Dead.

MictlancihuatlConsidered a public holiday in Mexico and Brazil, Day of the Dead is observed October 31-November 2.  Day of the Dead originated from an Aztec harvest celebration. Goddess Mictecacihuatl, or the Lady of the Dead, presided over this harvest festival, which adapted to coincide with All Saints Day and All Souls Day. Aspects of the original festival include welcoming the spirits of deceased children (angelitos) on October 31. This is when the children are allowed to come back from the dead to visit with their living parents. On November 2, the spirits of adults return to visit.

The belief is that the festivities reaffirm ties between the living and dead, solidifying their dependence on one another. Toys, trinkets and candy are left at the graves of the child spirits, while liquor, fruit and tortillas are left for the adults. The living bake “pan de muerto” or bread of the dead. They mold the dough into skull shapes and use icing to spell out the names of the deceased.

The Day of the Dead and other similar holidays around the world show how connected we all are to the spirits of our loved ones who have passed away. Built into our humanity is our respect and regard for all of our loved ones, both living and dead.

Providing our stories and expressing our final wishes is an important part of our lives. Let WillBox.me help you will all of your digital afterlife, online legacy, electronic will and virtual safe deposit box needs. Now is always the best time to begin.

 

Social media continues to evolve your way to experience life’s aspects. Lately, the spotlight has turned on mourning and memorializing those who have passed on. Technology in changing how we experience death. Social media is now a place to grieve for those we have lost.

There are options available when you can’t attend a funeral or a memorial service in person. In fact, you can send condolences via text, email or Skype. If you want to participate in the services, someone who attends can easily record or broadcast the program live from the event on their cell phones. This notion is quickly becoming acceptable.

Prepare legacy

If you want to read the obituary, you can do so online. If you want a copy, you can print from there, rather than obtaining a hardcopy newspaper. You can even sign guest books online when unable to physically attend the viewing or funeral.

The truth is that there is no substitute for heartfelt mourning. However, you can feel more connected with other mourners and participate in memorial services. Socially, you can join with other mourners and feel more connected and supported.

For example, when Robin Williams died, his admirers flooded social media with thoughts and prayers. Williams now has a memorial page on Facebook which continues. In fact, Disney recently made available unreleased footage of Williams playing the genie in Aladdin. No doubted—his fans will continue to join the online community to express their admiration for a long time to come.

Depending on your connections, your memory may live on for a long time to come.

Facebook

Unless otherwise specified, your Facebook profile will continue on. However, Facebook allows family to convert the page into memorial. Those who are already your friends can post their feelings on the memorial page but your profile will not come up in search engines. Rather, the access will be within Facebook only.

There is another Facebook-based app which allows you to create new memorial pages for a loved one or celebrity. “My Memorials” gives visitors to the page an opportunity to sign a guestbook and add their thoughts.

A more personal app is called “If I Die.”  This Facebook-based app allows you to create a video or other type of message that would be posted to your profile page in the event that you die. Once you have created your message, you entrust a friend to activate it when you pass.

Other Memorialization Apps

There are a variety of other apps which are designed to memorialize deceased friends and loved one. Prices and amenities varies among the alternatives: Forevermissed.com, Imorial.com, iLasting.com, Legacy.com, Mem.com, Nevergone.com, Remembered.com, Tributes.com, Yourtribute.com. All these apps offer similar organizations and prices.

If you don’t prepare, your digital legacy can be lost forever. Some of this seems morbid, to a certain degree. But at least these apps provide you with the chance for a final send off and the hope that your loved ones will not have to mourn alone.. Some of this must sound a bit sad and even morbid.  But truth be told it is one of the newer technological phenomenon contributing to the evolution of humanity.

Facebook is not the only app having to adapt to death. Each app has its own set of rules. Unfortunately there is no uniformity among them. Some require user names and passwords. Others, such as Facebook, will need you to appoint a trusted “legacy keeper.”

Examples of the many social media apps which may be affected are iTunes, Pinterest, eBay, Paypal, Linked-In and a myriad of others.

At willbox.me we understand and can help you address the issues from one online location.

Go to willbox.me for information on keeping your privacy, establishing a virtual last will, leaving a digital legacy, creating a virtual safe deposit box and/or insuring online asset protection. Whether you use a PC or a Mac, willbox.me can take care of all your needs.