Over one million people worldwide have passed away due to COVID-19 — over 200,000 of those people were in the United States. The sad reality of this pandemic is that one of those numbers may have been a loved one close to you. For many family members of those lost — an in-person memorial or funeral is just not possible. Megan Shoflick and her 16 year old daughter Samantha from Denver have decided to launch a website that may help bring families a bit of peace. They created Covituary.org — a website where anyone can create a free memorial page to help mourn lost loved ones.
Megan and Samantha first came up with the idea at the start of quarantine back in March and April. On one of their family walks around their neighborhood — they began to brainstorm ways in which family members could still remember their lost loved ones.
“We just thought it was really sad and terrible that people were dying and there was no way for their loved ones to memorialize,” Samantha said.
Megan and Samantha felt the effects of the pandemic on a personal note, as well. The parents of one of their family friends experienced a tragic loss — and their loved ones were not able to properly mourn.
“The woman ended up passing away. To tell her husband, the family had to take a ladder to his window and tell him his wife had died. He had to watch her funeral on an iPad,” Megan said. “Hearing those stories really made us want to do something.”
For the duo, the creation of this project was unknown to them every step of the way. They first had to enlist the help of a web developer to design the website. What was supposed to take four weeks ended up taking six months to perfect. They have also been using basic marketing techniques to get the word out about their site — most of their traffic comes from their social media pages or word of mouth.
“This has been really eye-opening and a good learning experience for me,” Samantha said. “I’ve been able to learn about web design and being an entrepreneur. Especially when it comes to working on something that I’m passionate about.”
Creating a memorial for a loved one is completely free. Each memorial comes with the opportunity to add photos and videos, a eulogy, a guestbook and milestones of the life of the deceased. You can also include links to donate to charities that your loved one was passionate about.
Megan and Samantha want Covituary.org to have a global reach. The website can be translated into several languages so it is widely accessible. You can also customize privacy options so only family can view the memorial page. Your memorial will never expire — it will be around as long as the internet exists.
“We’re trying to reach as many people as possible,” Megan said. “We want this to be on the internet forever for future generations to see and remember during this time.”