IT WAS an idea first documented in hit film ‘PS, I love You’ when the lead character’s dead husband, played by Gerard Butler, sends her a series of messages from beyond the grave.
But now, a service which allows people to leave recorded video messages to be played to their loved ones after their death is to become a reality in the UK.
I wondered how I’d get the chance to say goodbyeVincenzo Rusciano
Inspired by a series of serious traffic accidents witnessed by founder Vincenzo Rusciano on his commute to work in Barcelona, Heavenote helps people create their messages and identify who they want to receive them. These are stored on Heavenote’s system and are only sent once proof – provided by a dedicated friend or relative via a special code – is received once that person has passed away.
Mr Rusciano said: “I saw a number of bad accidents while on my motorbike and 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.”
In ‘PS, I Love You’, Hilary Swank plays Holly, whose deceased husband Gerry sends her a message for her 30th birthday – the first of several messages all ending with “PS I Love You”, which he had arranged to have delivered to her after his death.
Mr Rusciano added: “Seeing the film illustrated the impact of leaving messages and how the digital age could make this much easier to do.”
Charles Cowling, editor of the Good Funeral Guide, said he believed the service could appeal to the younger, “digital generation”.
Previously, services have existed where the deceased could leave voicemail messages for friends and family, while online memorial websites give mourners a chance to share memories and grieve online with other people.
Mr Cowling said: “People may leave messages of great sentimentality, but it could also be used for funny messages to friends. A big thing surrounding death is the feeling that people don’t want their loved ones to be upset after they have gone, so leaving people jokes on the anniversary of their death day could be a way forward.”
He added: “I think this very much appeals to the British sense of humour – we have a great irreverence when it comes to death.”
Pierre Caner, 30, from London, used the service last year after hearing about it from a friend in Spain.
“My wife was pregnant and it made me think that it would be nice to leave a message for my little baby if anything happened to me,” he said.
People already using the service in Europe, include those in the armed forces, firefighters and those with terminal illnesses.
In recent years, awareness has been raised of the importance of leaving a digital legacy – online accounts and assets accessed via passwords on the internet.
Maulik Sailor, chief executive of Innovify, a start-up support company which has worked with Heavenote, said: “Almost all digital legacy services are focused on the practical administration of assets, but Heavenote supports the equally, if not more, important emotional legacy.”