March 10th, 2009, 4 Comments »
For a while, I’ve been banging on about the question of what happens to your digital assets once you’re gone. Today, via LIVEdigitally, I encountered Legacy Locker, which promises to solve that problem:
Legacy Locker is a safe, secure repository for your digital property that lets you grant access to online assets for friends and loved ones in the event of death or disability.
Of course, for the process to work, Legacy Locker itself has to outlive its users.
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December 28th, 2008, 8 Comments »
Back in July, I wondered why we didn’t have doulas for the process of dying. Several commenters suggested that hospice and careworkers filled this niche, and I thought thought that explanation made sense.
However, there’s apparently still a market for death doulas or, as I read in today’s Miami Herald, death midwives:
An ordained minister from Sebastopol, Calif., Lyons started a nonprofit organization called Final Passages. She teaches workshops about such topics as how to care for a body while it’s in the family home and about burials outside traditional cemeteries.
Lyons also guides families through the legalities and paperwork of at-home funerals — death certificates and body transport permits — while providing emotional support and counseling. Her services can run from $500 to $1,500.
As a very unscientific litmus test of this idea’s popularity, I’ll note here that since July 29, there have been 65 people that found this site while searching terms relating to doulas and death. I’ll try to check back in another six months or a year, to see if there’s any up-tick in activity.
8 Comments »
July 29th, 2008, 17 Comments »
Lately I’ve being thinking a bit about doulas, and their re-emergence as a profession in our culture. In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, here’s the Wikipedia entry:
A doula is a non-medical assistant who provides various forms of non-medical support (physical, emotional and informed choice) in the childbirth process. Based on a particular doulas training and background, the doula may offer support during prenatal care, during childbirth and/or during the postpartum period. A birth doula is a continuous care provider for labor in many settings. Thus a labor doula may attend a home birth or might attend the parturient woman during labor at home and continue while in transport and then complete supporting the birth at a hospital or a birth center.
I hadn’t seen the word ‘parturient’ before, so here’s a definition of that term:
1. About to bring forth young; being in labor.
2. Of or relating to giving birth.
3. About to produce or come forth with something, such as an idea or a discovery.
It’s kind of an awful looking word–it reminds me both of ‘prurient’ and ‘nutrient’.
Profound Moments in Life
We employ a doula at what is, presumably, one of the most profound moments of our lives. It’s interesting, I think, that a similar role hasn’t emerged to guide us through another profound moment of our life–our death. This was a role traditionally filled by a priest or pastor, but in North America we live in significantly post-God nations. Who are the doulas of death?
I have some semi-formed thoughts around the association of doulas with New Ageism. In my experience, New Age movements tend to emerge where a receding Christianity has left gaps.
Beyond the comfort of faith, I’m not sure what role the Christian church served in pregnancy and birth, so that thesis doesn’t seem to hold much water. Mind you, speaking of water, we shouldn’t forget baptisms and christenings. So, I’m left with these incomplete statements:
Christianity: As x are to birth, priests and pastors are to death.
New Ageism: As doulas are to birth, x are to death.
If the terms ‘Christianity’ and ‘New Ageism’ are too charged, we could just replace them with, say, ’100 Years Ago’ and ‘Today’.
17 Comments »
April 25th, 2008, 4 Comments »
What happens to your online assets–blog, photos, video, and so forth–after you shuffle off this mortal coil? How long will they last? How long should they last?
I think about this idea every once in a while. A few years ago I posited that there’d be an emerging demand for a sort of digital mortician, who could help families make decisions about our post-mortem online stuff.
Nora Young at the CBC’s Spark recently completed a very thoughtful interview with Derek that covers this ground. Derek’s been online longer than most of us, and has had recent cause to confront his own mortality. So, he’s thinking about this topic too.
The edited version of the interview will appear on upcoming editions of the show, but you can hear the full version on Spark’s blog.
4 Comments »
November 11th, 2002, Comments Off
But the more I think about it, the more sense it makes, in a new agey way. Life Gem has ‘discovered how to capture the carbon [in your body], and until now, lost during cremation. Once captured, this carbon is placed in one of our unique diamond presses replicating the awesome forces of nature, heat and pressure.’
Why not? Is it any more weird than burying somebody and visiting their grave periodically? This way you can keep them with you all the time. Of course, being my mother’s son, I immediately imagined the worst-case scenario. What if you lost it? Still, an interesting alternative to the cemetary or ashes-on-the-hearth solutions.