How to Research Information for Your Loved One's Online Memorial
Writing content for your dearly departed’s online memorial can be a tough task, especially during a time of mourning. Within someone’s life are numerous details, some of which you probably were not aware of.
For instance, how many of us truly keep track of our loved one’s career path, academic accomplishments, and little-known hobbies? We can only know so much about a person’s life, and it’s usually just the major tidbits we see or the ones they showed us when they were still alive. Our existence is rich with unique details, all of which make up our life’s narrative.
Unlike an obituary, an online memorial has a more personal tone and contains more details about your loved one’s life and personality. If our life is a gigantic book, then it is important for us to research the “pages” and “chapters” of our loved one’s literature, so that we can show their beautiful story in an online memorial.
If you’re not sure where or how to start your research, we’ve highlighted some tips to help you take your first steps. You can even use these tips for researching obituary information. However, keep in mind that writing obituaries is all about brevity and having a more journalistic style.
1. Get a Copy of Their Curriculum Vitae or Résumé
When you’re doing research, you have to think like an investigative journalist. You want the online memorial content to be slightly poetic, perhaps humorous, and, more importantly, personal in tone. However, you also need to put in concrete details about your loved one’s life. Think of it like an extended version of an obituary, which is filled with factual information.
The best place to find these facts are in a copy of your loved one’s CV or résumé. Try to look for the most up to date copy of it, or perhaps a digital version saved on a computer. The CV is rich in information and relays these details in a straightforward manner. It will contain your loved one’s work history, academic record, and professional accomplishments, among other tidbits of info.
2. Browse Their Belongings
If you have access to the possessions your loved one left behind, browse through them for evidence of hobbies and passions you might not have been aware of before. Perhaps you’ll find a set of golf clubs, a tennis racket, or chessboards. These will give you an idea of what hobbies they might have enjoyed during their lifetime.
You might even find old journals or diaries. However, keep in mind that even after their passing, your loved ones deserve their right to privacy. So, use your wisdom and gut feeling whether you should read these personal entries and if it would be appropriate to use them for an online memorial. However, non-sensitive notes and other scribblings might be fine. They can show you your loved one’s thoughts, habits, and daily life.
Likewise, see if your loved one was a collector. A bookshelf filled with fantasy novels is a strong indication they loved that genre, or a vinyl record collection could show you their music taste.
3. Talk to Their Close Friends and Colleagues
If you have a way to contact your loved ones close friend and colleagues, don’t be shy to reach out to them. They would be more than happy to share their memories of your loved one, especially for a good cause like writing an online memorial. Also, you would be able to gather perspectives from a variety of people.
There are times when we show different aspects of our personality with certain individuals or groups, because out dynamic with every person is unique. By lightly interviewing or simply conversing with friends your loved one was close to, you’ll get a multidimensional view of your loved one’s personality and life.
4. Check Out Their Web Presence
If your dearly departed was active online, check out all of their social media pages to gather more information on what their life was like. They might even have a blog where they wrote down personal thoughts and memories. Unlike a diary, reading a blog is less intrusive because it’s in the public domain. That is if the blog is publicly visible.
Gather funny, memorable, interesting Facebook updates, tweets, and Instagram posts. However, remember that you are collecting content for an online memorial, so make sure the information you gather is appropriate.
In the 21st century, our lives are becoming more and more integrated with the Internet. Think like a private investigator, and try to find traces of your loved ones on the worldwide web. You might find some interesting information about your loved one that you might not have been aware of before, like a poem they published online, or a meet-up group they joined. All of these bits of info will help you write a well-rounded online memorial for your dearly departed.
5. Dig Through Your Own Memories
Last but not least, one of the most valuable sources of information is your own brain. Dig deep into your memory vault and replay the wonderful times you’ve experienced with your loved one. There might be a memory that has been buried in the deepest part of your mind because they were so long ago. That memory could be something worth sharing in your loved one’s online memorial, especially if it’s a happy or very special memory. These personal and intimate details are what makes online memorials unique. They show that your loved one was truly loved, and that their love radiated back at everyone who knew them.