In accordance with current trends, when my best friend’s husband passed away recently his two grown children poured their grief into creative productions that lovingly commemorate their father’s life.
The son made a DVD slide show presentation including photographs and music. The daughter created 3D collages and a shadowbox that included photographs, mementos and souvenirs. Their productions were shared at both the viewing and the funeral.
Each of them poured their hearts, love and grief, into beautiful productions that honored the memory of “Dad”. Traditionally, those items will now be stored away or displayed in the family homes for occasional recall and eventual disposal.
Meanwhile, in another American community a man walks to his wife’s graveside with his laptop computer in hand. He kneels beside her grave and connects a cable from the computer to the headstone. In solitude and silence, his senses peruse and rejoice in the events of their life together.
One could call the Graveside Memory Capsule a modern extension of the gravestone – one that tells the story of the life between the birth and the death. It is an invaluable service to the deceased’s remaining loved ones, who typically have only a few photographs and anecdotal memories that will gradually diminish and distort with time.
“When an old person dies, it’s like a library burning.” (Alex Haley)
The Memory Capsule can collect that “library” and preserve it for graveside viewing with a laptop computer and USB cable. The personal “library” can also be downloaded for later viewing and sharing through CD-ROM or the Internet. The Graveside Memory Capsule is a digital memory containing a recording of the decedent’s life history. Loved ones can compile pictures, text, audio, music, voice and video.
The Graveside Memory Capsule is the invention of John Stevenson. When his beloved wife of 51 years, Marian Ruth Stevenson, passed away recently, he knew he couldn’t let her remarkable life story die as well. So the retired aerospace engineer came up with a technological solution: the Graveside Memory Capsule.
“There is great psychological and spiritual loss when a loved one is buried. When family and friends walk away from a new grave, all that remains is a stone that says ‘John Doe, 1966-2006,'” stated John Stevenson. “That’s hardly a tribute to someone who has lived, laughed, cried, struggled and contributed his or her share to the continuity of the family, community and culture. It’s time the cemetery joined the computer world with the rest of modern society.”
Each Graveside Memory Capsule has a unique identifier. Genealogists will recognize the opportunity to create lists and links of identification numbers for future use in reconstructing family trees and pedigree charts.
The cost for the Graveside Memory Capsule is around $500, surprisingly affordable as an upgrade to traditional burial costs. Its actual value is to family members is priceless. Stevenson points out that the Graveside Memory Capsule and its communication system provides a family with cohesion that is psychologically in keeping with human instinct yet rare in the modern world.
“As families become increasingly scattered and estranged in today’s society, gone are the days when family histories were faithfully recorded and passed down from generation to generation,” Stevenson said. “The Graveside Memory Capsule helps families ensure that their histories will not be forgotten.”
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