On the Technology for Seniors Made Easy blog, I mainly cover tutorial how-to’s for using various types of programs and devices. The question sometimes comes up, “Why am I doing this?” Then I’m reminded that, for me, the most rewarding benefit of being online, and using technology, is the the ability to connect with, and gain support, from family and friends and communities all over the world.
For most of us, at some point in our lives, a time comes when we are confronted with the death of a loved one, a dear family member or friend. Most religious groups have some form of ritual gatherings where family and friends can offer love and support, memories and a celebration of the life of the deceased.
The challenge today is that more and more of us are living far away from many of those with whom we have the closest attachments. So what happens when we can’t be present for those healing moments? Loneliness? Frustration? Added grief?
Fortunately, we can now use the power of technology to help in the grieving. And being very computer savvy is NOT always a requirement.
In 2007, my beloved husband of 47 years died. We had a Jewish Shiva mourning period in my home for 3 days and nights. During that time people came to pay their respects and there were prayers every evening. Then, because my husband’s brother could not come down to Florida, a niece, when she returned, had a gathering in her home for family and friends in Philadelphia.
Wanting to be part of the group in some way, I called my niece and was able to listen and participate in saying Kaddish (the Jewish Mourning prayer). I then spoke with family and friends, sharing their and my grief, as well as memories of Sam. I felt loved, embraced, cared for.
Now, in 2013, familiarity and comfort with using modern methods has expanded the possibilities. It allowed for a heartwarming celebration of life and memorial service for a beloved cousin who recently passed away. Her daughter in California organized a conference call where friends and family from all over the country called into one phone number at a designated time. Those who were savvy enough were able to download screen sharing software to their computers that allowed them to view a slide show of photos that Karen presented as she and we on the phone all shared memories.
There was also a small gathering of friends in Karen’s home. At some point her Rabbi came in to lead us all in prayer. This included having Karen and us say Kaddish, the traditional Jewish Memorial prayer.
The video above is this portion of the service. It is a clip from the longer, full video I did, a screen capture of the slideshow being presented for those of us who were able to see it on our computers.
For those present in her home, Karen had handouts with the prayers and she showed the documents on her computer during the service. She also emailed them as attachments, so those on the phone only, without computer access during the call, could print them out and join in also.
What you see in the video are both the English translation and the transliteration of the Hebrew of the Mourner’s Kaddish.
(Note: If you click on the rectangle in the very bottom corner you can see the video full screen and, most likely will be able to read words.
The background greenery has nothing to do with the service or the video. It is the image I have as my desktop background.)
In future posts I will be sharing different ways you, too, can connect with loved ones and others, via free conference calls, Skype, other means of individual and group chat. For now you can check out and click on Facebook Video Chat and Google Hangouts. Those posts will link to some others on the Technology for Seniors Made Easy blog.
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