Messages from the heart... from beyond the grave
A few years ago, my friend Lauren received a rather disturbing email from her best friend's mother, setting out the song that Lauren should sing at her bestie's wedding in the event the best mate's mum "kicked the bucket" (her words).
BFF is now getting married in a few weeks and Mother of the Bride is going to be there, so Lauren doesn't have to perform Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris' tearjerker, Love And Happiness, in front of the dearly beloved, and she can thankfully discard the email that made her well up five years ago. But that email wouldn't even have been necessary if only Heavenote had existed back in 2010.
Inspired by the film PS I Love You - based on the novel by Cecelia Ahern, in which Hilary Swank uncovers a series of missives left by her deceased husband, played by Gerard Butler - Heavenote is an online service that lets you record messages that will only be delivered if you die. The site and app were dreamt up by founder Vincenzo Rusciano after driving past deadly car accidents while working in Barcelona.
"I wondered how I'd get the chance to say goodbye to the people important to me when my time came. This hit home when a friend of mine suddenly passed away," Rusciano says. "Seeing the film illustrated the impact of leaving messages, but how the digital age could make this much easier to do."
So how does it work? Users sign up, create their messages and specify who they should be sent to, then use one of two ways to release the messages.
With the self-check method, you set the frequency (between one week to three months) at which an email will be sent to check you're still alive and well, then as long as you reply within an allotted time period your messages will remain under Heavenote's digital lock and key.
Alternatively, you can give an access code to your next of kin, who then provides proof of death to the site in order to release the messages.
This isn't actually the first service of its kind.
There are more than 50 websites dedicated to afterlife admin, but most focus on memorial sites, funeral wishes and estate management, whereas Heavenote is concerned with the emotional side of things, and is the first to activate a posthumous message on a person's Facebook profile. Check out www.seedrs.com/heavenote).
If you've ever worried about shuffling off this mortal coil without saying a proper goodbye to your loved ones, a new online service lets you do just that, says Katie Wright