Lawrence Darani a forward thinking individual, existentialist and all round great person passed away rather suddenly from Idiopathic Lung disease. This post is an account by James Norris and the story of how Lawrence helped shaped DeadSocial. It has been approved by Lawrence's wife Lucy Darani.
On 18th March in the early hours, Lawrence was finding it hard to breathe. He managed to call an ambulance and he was rushed into it. At the hospital Lawrence was asked “do you have any allergies”? Lawrence turned to the member of staff and said “YES, the Torries” (Conservative Party)! This was a typically quick witted, comic and honest approach that those who knew Lawrence loved and respected him for. Lawrence passed away later the same day. I met Lawrence just over a year ago in preparation for Dying Matters Awareness Week. DeadSocial ran a Pop-Up shop in Camden to help rasie awareness on areas surrounding end of life and the good work carried out by the charity Dying Matters. Lawrence was a true professional and his years as an adult teacher and extensive research into philosophy, death and religion clear. Lawrence’s seminar ‘what is it about death that scares us’ was ran as part of Dying Matters Awareness Week and teased those attending to question death mortality and fear. Lawrence’s thinking and his approach to death resonated with me and I asked him if he would be interested working more closely with us going forward.
We were honored when he agreed and were lucky enough to work with him when planning future phases of DeadSocial;s development. We also presented and ran workshops together for Social Media Week and for Dying Matters Day of the Dead conference. During this period Lawrence became both a team member and a mentor. His thinking was very aligned to our own and we also worked with Lawrence to expand his own ethical Will. Lawrence was a philosopher with a love of history. On one of his East London tours he highlighted the changing face of East London over the centuries. It was a pleasure to work with and get to know Lawrence. His influence on DeadSocial will live on through the direction he helped set.
On Thursday Lawrence’s funeral took place and I met many of his friends and family for the first time. The impact Lawrence had on his friends and family was clear by the wonderful eulogies and words spoken about him afterwards. The humanist service played a number of Lawrence’s favourite songs before closing on the Beatles Obladi Oblada Life Goes on.
As well as creating a number of messages and videos for his friends and family. Lawrence also created a number of tutorial videos to assist DeadSocial's users. These will be made live in the coming months. Before this time Lawrence’s family have kindly agreed for us to release the video below.
Lawrence, you will be missed
DeadSocial will feature in an upcoming radio documentary for BBC Wales. This three part series will explore death within the UK and end of exploring the future of death and bereavement. We will be feature on the third episode on the 12th January at 12pm (repeating on the 13th January at 6.30pm). This will be available across the UK via the BBC iPlayer.
James Norris (CEO, DeadSocial) will explore how physical assets are heavily intertwined with death, mourning and the rituals behind grieving on the 21st February at the University of Bath. Assets are often used as a way for the living to feel connected to the deceased and to bridge a gap between life and death.
James' seminar will explore the relationship between death, physical possessions and the value innate objects can attain. With the increasing value asserted to digital assets he will then investigate digital assets from a number of differing perspectives. The seminar will conclude with a blurring of death, legacy, ritual and remembrance within the ever expanding digital realm.
We all know that we'll eventually die but very few people make plans for the entirety of their assets, especially digital ones. This CDAS seminar on the post-death afterlife of digital assets will examine how individual's can manage the full spectrum of 21st century property and the challenges posed by the digital world. The speakers will address everything from management of estates to controlling a person's post-mortem identity. Whether it's passwords, social networking accounts, or online property, the certainty of death opens up an entirely new world for living next of kin to negotiate after a person dies.
Speakers: James Norris, CEO of DeadSocial, Dr. Wendy Moncur, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, University of Dundee, Andrea Pierce, Head of Legal Services at Kings Court Trust Ltd
For further information as it becomes available and to book, visit the events page
We recently asked some of our users “what features you would like DeadSocial to provide”. One area that many of you requested was for saved messages to clearer when logged in and managing messages. Below is a sneak peak of how messages will appear in the new update.
Current Managment icon
New Management icons (in production)
Soon you will be able to quickly review which messages have been saved where enabling quicker message creation leaving you with more time to think about what you are going to say.
Public facing icons
When messages are posted publically post death on Facebook and Twitter the favicon (image) used will be your standard image. This new feature is solely for users when they are logged in to quickly review and assign messages to the suitable platform.
Let us know what you think of our upcoming update by commenting below:
Between 23-27th September 2013 the annual (occasionally bi-annual) Social Media Week took place. Over the course of the week leading thinkers and businesses in the sector hosted and spoke about the sector and often within their vertical of expertise.
This years speakers ranged from Richard Branson to Larry King. James Norris (DeadSocials's CEO) spoke at three events in London over the week. The third was for a panel discussion hosted by Healthbox.
The video below is from the first event hosted by DeadSocial ‘Death, Digital Demise & Our Digital Legacy’ welcomed a range of differing speakers looking at end of life within today’s connected world. Here is the first video from the event:
DeadSocial’s CEO James Norris and ambassador Lawrence Darani will be presenting at Dying Matters annual, Mexican Day of the Dead Showcase. It will take place between 1.30pm - 7pm THIS FRIDAY on the 1st November 2013
1.30 Registration & refreshments
2.00 Chair’s Introduction & a personal reflection about the Mexican Day of the Dead Tony Bonser, Chair of People in Partnership, The National Council for Palliative Care (NCPC)
2.10 Events, however big or small, Dying Matters to us all Karen Newman, Secretary to the Community Consultant in Palliative Medicine, Trinity Hospice & Palliative Care Services Jo Nicholls, Learning & Quality Compliance Co-ordinator, Trinity Hospice & Palliative Care Services
2.25 A Civil Celebrant’s responsible approach to the Dying Colin Nolan, The Celebrant
2.40 An interactive session of ideas from coalition members A round table discussion to look at Dying Matters members’ biggest obstacles when raising public awareness
3.00 DeadSocial's Popup Shop for Dying Matters Awareness Week James Norris, DeadSocial & Lawrence Darani, DeadSocial
3.15 On and off the bus...Dying Matters let’s talk, let’s plan Jayne Hanner, End of Life Care Co-ordinator, South Locality, Sussex Community NHS Trust,Sandra Vargeson, End of Life Care Coordinator, West Locality, Sussex Community NHS Trust Chris Banks, End of Life Care Coordinator, North Locality, Sussex Community NHS Trust
3.30 Tea and Coffee and a chance to visit the exhibitions, view the work of the students from Haberdashers’ Aske’s Hatcham College, place a photo of a lost loved one on the altar (please note photos cannot be returned so please bring a copy). Please also use this opportunity to participate in the displays- tell us what you did for Dying Matters Week, and any ideas you may have for 2014!
4.00 Panel Discussion: Overcoming Obstacles Following on from the earlier round table discussions, an opportunity to address and discuss Dying Matters members’ obstacles further and look for solutions : Chair: Sam Turner, Director of Stakeholder Relations, NCPC & the Dying Matters Coalition Eve Richardson, Chief Executive, NCPC & the Dying Matters Coalition Joe Levenson, Director of Communications, NCPC & the Dying Matters Coalition Mandy Paine MBE, Dying Matters Champion (TBC) Noleen Turner, Marketing Manager, Education & Finding Space, St Joseph’s Hospice
4.30 Learning from the Mexican Day of the Dead: Our School’s Approach School children fromHaberdashers’ Aske’s Hatcham College (TBC)
4.45 New Resource: I Didn’t Know That A Short Film from the Dying Matters Coalition
5.05 Steve Evans presents: “Nearly dying, not the end of the world but you can see it from there!” Steve Evans, a person with personal experience
5.25 Chair’s closing remarks
5.30 Celebrating the Day of the Dead
* Due to limited funds Dying Matters asks that all attendees pay a small charge of £35 to cover the costs of the event refreshments
We have just came across the 'Tikker' Kickstarter campaign.... in short, we like it. This 'Death Watch' will estimate the amount of time someone has left to live based on different variables and acts as a constant reminder that time is ticking. Ticker are looking to raise $25,000 on KickStarter to build a prototype of the watch.
Thinking about it...we love the 'Death Watch' concept but are left a little unsure of it's current mainstream appeal. We would really like to see the concept watch lose it's Armani looking design and have it replaced with a more stylised alternative. It will be interesting to see what kind of traction the campaign attains in the coming weeks.
We wish eveyone at Tikker all of the best with the project. If you would like to find out more or purchase a Death Watch then check out Tikker's KickStarter Page for more information.
British artists Jamie Wardley and Andy Moss accompanied by numerous volunteers, took to the beaches of Normandy with rakes and stencils in hand to etch 9,000 silhouettes representing fallen people into the sand. Titled The Fallen 9000, the piece is acts as a stark visual reminder of the civillians, Germans and allied forces who died during the D-Day beach landings at Arromanches on June 6th, 1944 during WWII. The original team consisted of 60 volunteers, but as word spread nearly 500 additional local residents arrived to help with the temporary installation that lasted only a few hours before being washed away by the tide. (via Lustik)
Openness, transparency and collaboration: much has been claimed in recent years for the transformative potential of social media in healthcare. The advent of online patient communities in particular have begun to demonstrate the power of being open and connected but are there some areas that are taboo? What challenges does healthcare as a space offer to start-ups, healthcare professionals and passionate individuals who are seeking to transform healthcare through social media?
How can social media in healthcare and address the challenges around privacy, dignity and vulnerability, especially when dealing with areas such as sexual health, mental health and death? The panel addresses these themes as well as some of the technologies, apps, practices and business models that are being adopted in this space.
When I tell people about Mindings I always introduce it as something I built to help me be better connected to my Dad - by enabling me to share pictures, text messages, calendar reminders and social media content, all onto a digital screen that he doesn't need to touch.
This is all true, and my Dad loves being able to see regular pictures of his five year old granddaughter - in her new school uniform on the first day of term, practising her ballet or taekwondo, or even just playing on a climbing frame in the park. I can also send him text messages, just to let him know what I'm doing that day or to remind him to pick up his prescription. I can add everything from doctors' appointments, to family birthdays, to my sister's shift patterns, onto a calendar that becomes his daily schedule. And, I can connect him to the main social media services so he's "in the loop" and knows what we're all up to. Best of all, by lightly touching the screen when a new picture or message comes in, I get a text message - letting me know that he's alive, well and interacting with the world. And you have no idea how wonderfully reassuring that is.
However, the spark of inspiration to create Mindings wasn't actually related to my Dad. Mindings was originally created for my Mum. On the week that my wife and I discovered that we were having a baby, we also discovered that my Mum had been diagnosed with cancer. It was unlikely that Mum would ever see her first grandchild's first birthday.
Determined to give my Mum as much of a grandmother experience as possible we visited as often as we could, and I took loads of pictures and posted them every other day. Had my parents been technically-minded I could, of course, have emailed the pictures. However, like many older people, they were quite technology-shy so that wasn't really an option.
So, I bought one of the first generation of digital picture frames and set it up in my parents' home. It was very poor quality, by no means instant, and difficult to manage. Basically if you wanted the person to see a new picture from the dozens that had built up, you had to switch it off and on again. However, on the day of my daughter's birth I was able to send a picture to the frame, phone Mum and say "you're a grandmother". The tears on the other end of the phone let me know how much it meant to her, and I knew that magically being able to share the moment with a picture made it extra special.
I set to work to make a better digital picture frame - and on the journey I discovered that it could do so much more. My mum didn't make it to CJ's first birthday. But daily she shared every little moment of her first nine months. Every little smile, every new experience - all captured on camera and instantly shared with "granny" in her last few months.
I didn't create Mindings to help with Mum's passing. But I know that in her last few months she was better connected with her family than she had ever been, and she left us knowing that we were well, happy and embarking on an exciting adventure together, and I know how reassuring that was for her.
(This post was written by Stuart Arnott ahead of Social Media Week 2013. Stuart founded Mindings to help those suffering from dementia and loneliness. Mindings is a tablet application that helps those who may feel lonely and venerable receive media from various social networks, SMS etc directly to a tablet or connected device. During 'Death, Digital Demise, Community & Digital Legacy' Stuart will probe why technology is often overlooked as a way to combat loneliness, dementia and end of life care. Stuart will then provide practical advice on how one can combat this based on the experience he has attained. If you would like to attend click here for a free ticket).
Social media has profoundly changed the way we relate to each other. In important ways, through its developments, we have extended ourselves into the digital ether. Online interaction offers an environment where we explore our identities, test our relationships, reach out to others, and present the outward facing aspects of our egos. The psychological consequences of relating in this manner are just beginning to be uncovered.
Planning your funeral is often a hard thing to comprehend especially whilst healthy. However, when someone unexpectedly passes away arranging a funeral in keeping with the deceased's wishes is often made more stressful when things haven't been documented.
Hoster Tully's funeral in the CBO TV Series 'Game of Thrones' serves as a reminder for the following:
- Make sure that your funeral wishes have been written down and given to someone you trust
- State what kind of ceremony you would like (religious, traditional, celebration of life etc)
- Document whether you would like to be buried, cremated, other.
- State where you would like your final resting place to be.
- Clearly articulate any other ceremonial preferences that you may have (such as songs, what people should wear etc)
- If you are an organ donor keep the relevant documentation in a safe place and tell friends where the safe place is.
- Choose someone reliable to help and assist with your funeral
Lessons Learnt from a Game of Thrones Funeral (choose someone reliable to help assist with your funeral)
There are a number of great resources that offer more advice to help ensure that you have your funeral wishes met. Although they are (arguably) not as visually engaging as this snippet from Game of Thrones (above) they do offer a lot more guidance:
- In the UK Dying Matters 'My Funeral Wishes' and The Good Funeral Guide's 'Plan your own Funeral' resources are worth a butchers.
- In the USA laws and guidelines differ slightly regarding on which state you live in. However as well as the above we recommend reading the New York's Department of Health's 'A Consumers Guide to Arranging a Funeral'.
Digital funeral guides that may be of interest
- How to create a memorial video from photos using PowerPoint (tutorial)
- Using iTunes playlists to decide what songs should be played at the deceased's funeral (tutorial)
- Sending funeral invitations by email (tutorial)
- How to display photos at a funeral or wake (tutorial)
'Respect Green Burial Parks' are holding the 'Green Burial Awareness Day 2013' at the Bawtry green burial park on Sunday the 25nd August 2013.
This year sees the launch of four new products, Respect Everybody Shrouds which Respect have designed from Eco Friendly Bamboo material, and have woven / manufactured in the UK to Respects design, for both humans and pets.
They have built in handles so they are coffin-less-shrouds which are easy to handle especially for those who want to be more involved in the funeral to help make it a more meaningful personal affair and tailored to a celebration of life.
Respect are also launching locally made recycled wooden coffins which is a Social Enterprise based organisation and they will be showing their first public display of the coffins These are sturdy caskets, well made, but simple in design. Each casket will be lined with cotton, with a bed and pillow of cotton wrapped wool, each casket will have six sisal rope handles or a long wooden bar and peg design.
During the day people will be able to stroll around the burial park and see for themselves why so many people are pre booking their eternal resting places with Respect. Visitors will be able to ask questions and break the myth that Green Burial is something so different.
“Green Burials and Eco concerns are mainstream and mean families can have a time-rich, unhurried, unique, personalised ceremony of their choice enabling the funeral to be a more meaningful reflection and celebration of one’s life".
Location: Scrooby / Bawtry, Great North Rd A638/A614 North Nottinghamshire / South Yorkshire DN10 6AB
For more information visit the open day on Thursday, visit www.respectgb.co.uk or call: 01302 378359