I love the platform of the digital vault that provides a common space for practical information needed by those left behind, as well as the personal messages that can be encompassed in an "Emotional Will." It seems particularly salient in this information age to think about inheriting information. I appreciate the openness to working with end of life experts to think through the many issues that will be involved, especially since there are likely many idiosyncrasies of unique individual situations. For me personally, I wonder how much the "heirs" are prepared to receive messages timed for receipt years after someone's death. It seems like it could be truly haunting for some, even when the intent is positive connection beyond the grave.
I have been experiencing my own major life transition (job change) and checked out of this challenge for a while, but I'm so glad to see this idea has made it through. I was also inspired by the pre-funeral scene in TFiOS and related a story from a friend's retirement party (although I wasn't thinking directly about death as "retiring" from this world, just a similar transition). I *LOVE* the idea of framing it as a "Rehearsal Dinner." Although we typically associate these dinners as occurring on the night before the "big day," I don't see anything wrong with having such a rehearsal occur well before the day that, in our culture, is generally viewed with dread. In fact, I think for many of us, we could probably use lots of rehearsals to prepare us for that day.
When a friend of mine was dying of cancer, a Facebook Group was created to support her and each other. It was a nice way to stay connected, even after she passed. The group page stayed active for about a month or so, and then naturally seemed to fade. I was reminded that the page still exists when her daughter posted a message sharing her reflections on Mother's Day. That seemed like a nice reminder that those who were closest to her still need support after many of us have moved on. Although my friend did not exactly leave a post-mortem message, she did write a message a couple of months before she died, which was shared by her husband in the last week or so of her life - essentially, it allowed her to say goodbye to a broader network of people.
It is strange when computer algorithms appear to act on behalf of others, especially when they are gone. It seems like a simple "bug fix" might be to allow people to enter a death date as well as a birth date. If this data was included in a profile, then the algorithms could do a better job of handling these profiles differently. I realize and understand why some people prefer to simply request the removal of an account after a loved one has passed, but I believe there are others who might like to sustain an account to maintain connection with the loved one's network. Perhaps there already is such an option that is hidden?
I'm not sure about some of the ideas presented, particularly in science fiction, to provide some sort of technological immortality through various forms of virtual presence. I certainly do not believe that any form of artificial intelligence would preserve the true essence of a person. However, I like the idea of ensuring the possibility of saying farewell since we generally do not know when our last opportunity will be. I think the challenge comes from determining when to record such a message. It seems that such messages might need to be updated (just as a last will and testament needs to be updated) as we may want to account for more life experience than what was incorporated when the message was recorded.