12/16/2014 08:16 am ET Updated Dec 16, 2014

Death On The Internet: The Rise Of Livestreaming Funerals

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It’s 11 o'clock on a Tuesday morning. Usually at this hour, I’d be stepping out of my office for an absurdly early lunch, but not today. Today, I find myself leaning into my computer screen in the most isolated corner of The Atlantic's kitchen, hoping that no one stumbles in as I try to watch a stranger’s funeral over the Internet.

When Walker Posey invited me to view the funeral of his grandmother, Alta Marie, via webcast, I was stunned. I had already interviewed Posey, a fourth-generation funeral director, for this article. He shared his experiences and opinions about funeral webcasting with me, but I didn’t expect him to let me watch a funeral, let alone the funeral of one of his family members. I knew I had to say yes to his offer, but I wanted to say no. I felt anxious about being a voyeur, a foreign digital presence in an otherwise private family moment.

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