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High Tech Funerals Allow People To Attend Online

By Paula Ebben, WBZ-TV
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BOSTON (CBS) – The Crumpton family loves to sing, but this year they lost a special voice. Their son Matthew died while playing a high school basketball game. “Fourteen seconds left, he went over and sat on the bench and just collapsed on the floor,” his father, Tim, recalled.

Matthew left behind his broken-hearted family and hundreds of friends. “We had a lot of people around the country and even some places in the world that could not be there for the funeral,” Matthew’s dad, Tim said. That’s why Matt’s parents decided to try something new. They made plans to webcast their son’s funeral live on the internet so everyone could see. “There were like a thousand computers connected,” Tim said.

WBZ-TV’s Paula Ebben reports

Technology has changed the way many families plan for this difficult time, according to funeral director John Kirk. “People want to do things that are different. They don’t necessarily want to follow tradition in all instances,” he explained. Kirk says families are now using video tributes, websites and online forums. “We’ve seen people on our website send messages to deceased relatives. That’s healing for them,” he said.

Bereavement expert, Dr. Ronald Barrett of Loyola University agrees that new traditions can be empowering. “There has been a significant change in people’s openness to talking about death and we consider that a good thing,” he said.

The Crumptons say they are thankful technology allowed family and friends around the world to support them through this painful time. Tim Crumpton says a number of people told him how thankful they were that the funeral was online so they could share in the celebration of Matt’s life. “It was very comforting,” he said.

For families who want to keep the services private, funeral directors say the webcasts can be password protected.

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