TheNorth Raleigh Funeral Homeis one of many funeral homes that have logged on to try and lighten an inevitable, emotional burden.
Funeral director Bill Joyner says they launched their Web site to allow people to look over the facilities, the caskets and funeral planning without ever leaving their homes. Pictures and information are all online.
Thanks to national funeral sites likeHeavenlydoor.comandPlan4ever.com, mourners can be connected to funeral homes almost anywhere. Joyner says the online process makes planning much easier.
"People normally do not like to visit funeral homes," he says. "With the use of the Internet, we're able to go online and actually see these facilities and some of the staff."
Joyner predicts the Internet will soon become an even bigger part of the sympathy business, moving from an informational tool to a way to plan and pay for funeral arrangements all online. However, he does not think personal attention can ever be replaced by a computer.
"The Internet and any pictures will not take the place of standing face to face with that individual and offering your sympathy," he says.
Joyner says he hopes to soon start posting prices online for all funeral products and services. Although, if you e-mail a request, they will send you a price list. He says it may be a while longer before people can pay for funerals over the Internet.