In the film P.S. I Love You (2007), young widow Holly Kennedy finds her late husband has left her ten messages. He hopes it will ease her pain and help her start a new life. Priests report that, thanks to modern technology, more funerals include eulogies recorded while the deceased still walked among the living.
A U.K. company called SwonSong has launched an app that enables people to collate letters to a loved one. SwonSong is the brainchild of David Lamonby, 61, and his son Ian, 40.
But recorded eulogies can create unhappiness among families. The Rev. Christyan James, a parish priest based in the south coast town of Brighton and recently named in the 2017 Good Funeral Guide, presided at a service last year with a recorded eulogy burned onto a CD.
“On the whole, people didn’t like it very much — I think they were trying to get used to someone not being there and then suddenly they’re there,” he told The Telegraph. “It felt very uncomfortable.”
Custom funerals have grown in popularity since the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, and they are becoming less formal. But when people take it on themselves to design a funeral, it can bring family tensions into the open.
“I’ve actually had one situation where two sisters started physically fighting,” Fr. James said. “As a society we’re less inhibited. We don’t keep our feelings to ourselves any more, we’re encouraged to voice them — and people just let rip.”