As a celebrant, Stephanie Longmuir would see first-hand the sadness and frustration that arose with the lack of planning left behind by the deceased.
“I kept meeting families who continually lamented not asking important questions of the loved one while they still had time,” Stephanie tells Dynamic Business.
“People are reluctant to talk about death and funerals, some are even reluctant to talk about their lives, but many have a clear idea about how they would like to be remembered and celebrated.”
The concept for myendnotes soon came to fruition. A series of simple questions in an online environment, myendnotes was created to help capture one’s wishes and instructions to help with the planning of their eventual funeral.
Stephanie has self-funded the project, developing the website from scratch over two years with the help of a developer.
“myendnotes is very simple to use,” Stephanie explains. “The user registers, they then have one month to complete a comprehensive set of questions. The user can specify as much or as little as they choose. Questions are supported by definitions and information to help guide the user.”
The process is laid out in a format that simplifies posthumous events. Stephanie says the site begins with documentation required for a funeral, it moves through the practical considerations, components of the service, details of the ceremony, then a big section of the user’s life story and finally who needs to be notified. Over 70 questions provide a comprehensive planning picture, one that can be printed or saved as a PDF.
“myendnotes is not for everyone,” Stephanie points out. “I am hoping to capture a senior’s market looking to control the way their lives will be remembered and celebrated.
“Documenting wishes relieves family members of decision-making and searching for information at a time of intense grief and sadness. It will also eliminate the potential for disputes by clearly stating your wishes and instructions, especially relevant now with the increase in blended families.”
Stephanie says the harnessing of technology to help prepare for death is a natural step in the ever-evolving digital age, and her concept is already attracting eyes overseas.
“I have been invited to the US in October to present at the National Funeral Director’s Association Conference on my work as a celebrant in Australia. I will be meeting with American funeral providers to discuss my site and my future plans.”
Of course, attention at home is key, and myendnotes is on the right track.
“From the Australian funeral industry there has been some very positive early interest that has reinforced the importance of my work so far.”