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“Love you ‘till the end” – and forever after

We all have people in our life who are very close to us. People with whom we have had the privilege of sharing a number of experiences and wonderful moments that mean a great deal to us. It’s therefore only natural that we would want to capture these memories after their death. Marco Casanova explained to us what options there are for this and what a digital condolence book might look like.

“The death of a person we are close to overwhelms many family members,” explains Marco Casanova, son of the former Swiss Vice Chancellor and Government Spokesman Achille Casanova. Often the death of a loved one is so sudden as we don’t like to remind ourselves of mortality and how fragile life actually is. Even if someone has been ill for a long time, it’s often difficult to talk about things that happen after death and are important when they are alive. You would rather not think about his while they’re alive and prefer to forget the fact that this will be reality at some point. How should the funeral service be organised? What would my recently deceased father have liked for music? How and where should the burial take place? Everyone should ask these questions during their lifetime. Discussing death is very important for this reason in particular as otherwise you’re leaving the bereaved on their own with this.

The Internet provides a great deal of information of course. PDFs, tips and all kinds of information, more than you want. Formalities and paperwork are part of the everyday agenda during this intense time, all the details have to be coordinated and agreed with the family. But the grieving family can only function in this situation: the less decisions that have to be made the better. “One highly challenging matter is also dealing with all the condolences from friends and acquaintances,” explains Marco Casanova from his own experience. In an interview with him, we found out what really matters during such a traumatic event.

Marco Casanova, you have actively looked into the issue of bereavement and funeral management. How did this come about?

After my father’s death I simply had to function and I have to admit we were pretty overwhelmed with the situation at the beginning. Everything had to be done quickly and you have to take control of things yourself; as there are lots of personal decisions to make. I would have liked to have been able to rely on a bereavement portal on a digital platform to guide me through this totally new situation step by step. Because this didn’t exist, I then launched www.onlinekondolenz.ch after some time had passed.

Your platform includes a digital condolence book which can be created collaboratively. Why do you offer this?

As a result of my father being so prominent, the family received huge amounts of post through all imaginable channels after his death: condolences by SMS, email, letter – we could barely cope with the volume. At the funeral I observed how many people struggled to instantly write a message in the condolence book. This kind of thing is very personal and you’re happy to take the necessary time for this, which is simply not available at a funeral. I accordingly asked myself: how can you take the pressure off the bereaved? That’s how the whole thing got going and onlinekondolenz.ch was born.

What do your customers do afterwards once the digital book has been created?

The condolence book can be downloaded as a PDF and ordered from a photo book provider of your choice. The book helps the family but also everyone who is grieving, i.e. friends and acquaintances, to process their grief. You don’t want the loved person to be forgotten. Any memories can be captured in a book so that it’s not just a condolence book in the end but a real book of life that reflects their whole life even beyond death.

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Marco Casanova is the founder of Onlinekondolenz.ch. Nobody is spared having to carry a loved family member or friend to the grave. With his platform he wants to help people in this situation to cope with it as best as possible.

Achille Casanova’s page shows what the online platform can look like for a specific person: http://onlinekondolenz.ch/achille-casanova

We offer you various templates for sympathy and commemorative cards, which you can add a personal touch to with your photos. You can express your sympathy appropriately to the bereaved family with the right card.

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