Ep. 294 Virtual Funerals and Memorials: How and Why to Hold Them with Merilynne Rush

Learn best practices for creating a meaningful and powerful funeral or memorial service online.

My guest Merilynne Rush is an EOL Doula Mentor, Home Funeral Guide, Green Burial Educator, Advance Care Planning Facilitator, Death Cafe host, former hospice nurse, and former home birth midwife. Today she shares her personal experience planning and hosting a virtual memorial service for her father, including all of the challenges and benefits of taking on such a task. She offers helpful advice to anyone who feels called to plan a virtual ceremony and explains why this new way of being together after a loved one dies is likely here to stay. Learn more about her work at her website:


Read her blog post on Virtual Memorials here

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • The importance of funeral and memorial rituals and why they should happen sooner rather than later after a death
  • Why a virtual ceremony can be just as effective as in-person
  • Why good planning and organization is essential for conducting an online event
  • Getting outside help from a tech assistant and an “MC” to manage the flow of the ceremony
  • Creating an effective “script” for the event
  • Why breakout rooms are helpful at the end of the ceremony
  • Tips for creating a slide show to use during the event
  • How virtual gatherings can “carry all the love” we want to share and help with our grief
  • Why virtual funerals and memorials are likely to continue even after the pandemic

Links mentioned in this episode:

If you enjoy this content please share it with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes! Thanks again to all supporters on my page at Patreon.com/eolu, especially my newest supporter Heather Capuano! Your contributions make all the difference!

End of Life, EOLPodcast

Ep. 245 Virtual Funerals and Memorials: Innovation for Now and the Future with Noha Waibsnaider

Learn how online platforms are helping families gather for funerals and memorials during this time of isolation due to COVID-19.

My guest Noha Waibsnaider is the co-founder and CEO of GatheringUs, an online platform where communities can gather after the death of a loved one and create a memorial page or schedule an event. Her team helps people create customized ceremonies and gatherings to honor their loved ones and share comfort and support. After a very successful first year of business, Gathering Us is available at the perfect time right now to help families separated by the global pandemic come together in a meaningful way. Learn more at the website:


Listen here:

Virtual Funerals and Memorials

This episode includes:

  • The inspiration behind GatheringUs
  • One way in which virtual funerals can be better than in-person events
  • How a virtual funeral is conducted
  • How virtual funerals lend themselves to unique and creative celebrations
  • How virtual “reception rooms” facilitate more intimate sharing during the event
  • Why virtual funerals are likely to part of traditional funerals in the future after COVID-19
  • Why commemorations for our loved ones are especially important during this time of separation
  • How online memorial pages can help families deal with grief over time
  • “Grief Soup”: How to balance personal grief with overwhelming communal grief

Links mentioned in this episode:

  • Pre-order my book: 7 Lessons for Living from the Dying
  • Interview on White Shores Podcast with Theresa Cheung
  • Interview on A Light in the Dark with Egan Orion
  • GatheringUs website
  • Join the team at Patreon.com/eolu and get access to the EOLU mug“Mind if we talk about death?” (only Patrons can purchase it). PLUS get our new bonuses: the monthly EOL News Update, movie reviews from 2 Doctors and a Movie, and automatic access to A Year of Reading Dangerously!

If you enjoy this content please share it with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes! Thanks again to all supporters on my page at Patreon.com/eolu, especially my newest Patron Alan Leon! Your contributions make all the difference!