You Can Celebrate Your Life at

Although some people don’t like to think about death, a chronic condition or some near-death experience often alters those views. Brushing up against the grim reaper often motivates people to look at the brighter side of life and to think about how their deaths might affect others. Often, such a profound experience forces some individuals to develop a deeper sense of introspection.

Such was the case with Barbara Houston, who stated, “one of the greatest gifts of my life was getting Cancer…It didn’t change who I am. It just helped me discover other sides of myself. I also discovered more about the people around me. For the first time I can remember I was the one in need. I had to rely on others. I had to not only accept help, but at times I had to reach out and ask for it directly. That has been a real challenge for me. It’s taken courage to do it.”

Barbara left that journal entry online at Bcelebrated. com, a site where anyone can document their life as they live it, knowing their words and images will automatically be shared with friends, family and community when they pass away. Members can journal their life by adding stories, visuals and music to an autobiographical memorial website. Members’ contacts are automatically notified by email and invited to visit the member’s site. Friends and family have the opportunity to read his or her life story, share comments, donate to a charity selected by the member, and visit a private page that was created especially for them.

The ability to document this information is not free. Currently, the cost is a few pennies under $100 for a lifetime membership. The site also offers a 30-day free trial and a $19.95 annual membership.

But, the cost may be small for those who are not familiar with building Web sites and who often are provided the task of documenting a loved one’s life after that loved one has died. You may pay someone more than $100 to pull information together for you, such as a funeral home. Why not do this work yourself and enjoy the process while you’re at it? Geoffrey Dunn stated his fascination with Bcelebrated this past month when he wrote:

Since I’m a writer and archivist, I was placed in charge of getting all of their [loved ones] remembrances together, of selecting photos for their memorials and death notices, selecting music for their services, counseling the family about interment options and other matters related to these deaths.

It was a daunting task. I always wondered what photos these deceased friends and family members would have wanted selected, what music, what parts of their lives they would have wanted shared. In one instance a 93-year-old friend handed me a note in the hospital and asked me to complete a final task for him. I could not read his handwriting. I was blessed to be asked, but burdened by the possibilities and uncertainties.

Then, this past summer I discovered a remarkable new web site called BCelebrated. I realized immediately this site was the perfect cyber-age tool to eliminate much of the trauma and challenges that I had personally faced, both directly and as a support person, in recent years.

Debra Joy, CEO of Bcelebrated, stated, “When death comes – and it does for us all, the process of contacting everyone who knows you and presenting your life in the form of obituaries and public memorials will be left to others…unless you do it yourself. Bcelebrated allows you to define your own legacy, and will save your loved ones from the grief of coping with the small details of your life that, perhaps, only you would know.”

Bcelebrated allows users to design a template, biography, photo gallery, private pages for such items as notes to loved ones or an obituary that you want published and contacts. But, you are not finished until you add “activators,” which allow Bcelebrated to automatically send emails to your contacts when they receive notification of your death. Bcelebrated also provides loved ones with phone numbers for those who do not have email.

When your contacts are notified, they can log into to read your last wishes and to post memorial information. They cannot gain access to your site to make changes, so you can rest assured knowing that your information is yours – not written by someone who may want to alter your life as you knew it.

You also can rest assured that did not receive compensation for touting this site to our readers. We just think – for the price – that this is one way to help our readers take responsibility for end-of-life celebrations and decisions. Who knows you better than you, after all?

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