But what happens to our digital possessions? What happens to your e-mail when you die?
The answer is nothing. It just sits there, taking up digital space on an Internet server. The same thing for your Facebook account, Twitter, LinkedIn, GooglePlus+, Pinterest, Tumblr, Flickr, LiveJournal, or any of a hundred other websites and social media networks where you might have an account residing.
Google - as they do with many things - is attempting to get ahead of the curve by introducing a concept they call an Inactive Account Manager, which sets up a series of actions for them to take if your Google account goes silent for a specified number of months. These actions include simply deleting your data, or shipping it off to a contact you have named. You can read more about it here.
Let me go on record right now as being an advocate of this. It is conceivable that, at some point (undoubtedly far in the distant future), there will be more inactive data on the Web than active users. I am not tech-savvy enough to say if this will clog or impede the use of the Internet, but why take the chance? I recommend that all my readers include instructions - and passwords - in their wills that will allow your estate to delete or properly archive your data on personal hard drives once you are deceased.
Three men who seldom went to church passed away in the same vehicle accident and stand before Saint Peter at the Pearly Gates.
"I will allow you through these gates," Saint Peter says, "if you can tell me one simple thing, that all men should know by now."
The three men looked hopeful.
"Tell me about Easter."
The first man steps up and says, "I think I know. That's the holiday the whole family gathers together to watch football and eat turkey."
Saint Peter says, "Umm, no," and the man disappears in a puff of smoke and brimstone.
The second man, looking a little rattled, says, "Isn't that the holiday where the whole family gathers and we give each other gifts and decorate a dead tree?"
Saint Peter sighs heavily and sadly says, "Wrong," and the second man is gone in a puff.
Saint Peter turns to the third man, who looks confident, and asks, "What can you tell me about Easter?"
The third man smiles and says, "From what I remember, that's the holiday that usually occurs in early Spring and is the culmination of Holy Week, after Christ's crucifixion. He is buried and placed in a cave and a large rock is rolled across the front of it. Three days later, the rock is rolled away by angels and Jesus emerges..."
Saint Peter smiles. Then the man says, "...and if he sees his shadow, it means six more weeks of winter."
Mark's Musings is published on a periodical basis - right now on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays - but that may change without notice. Find me on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/markmusings. This blog is considered to be a digital periodical publication and is filed as such with the U.S. Library of Congress; ISSN 2154-9761. There are never any endings, only beginnings in disguise.