MARYSTOWN, NL – The mother of a Marystown woman who passed away in 2015 was angered to learn her daughter’s obituary had been posted on Afterlife, a website that take obituaries from publications and uses them to sell add-on services such as virtual candles and flowers.
According to the description on its site, Afterlife claims to be Canada’s largest database of deceased people, where site visitors can find obituaries and death notices from throughout North America, Australia and New Zealand.
Anne Kelly told the Southern Gazette a friend was checking Afterlife site to see if his girlfriend’s obituary was listed when he came across a post for Kelly’s daughter, Kimberly.
Kimberly Kelly was killed in a car accident on the Trans-Canada Highway near Arnold’s Cove on April 21, 2015.
“He texted me when he saw Kim’s name,” said Kelly. “He checked his girlfriend’s (name), he checked mine and some of his own family that passed, and he came across Kimberly.”
Not only did the site use her daughter’s obituary without Kelly’s knowledge, it also listed incorrect information.
“They said that she died in Marystown … she died in Arnold’s Cove,” said Kelly. “I was surprised at that because that wasn’t part of the obituary. It’s almost like they made up their own (information).”
Kelly said she couldn’t believe it when she visited the site and saw her daughter’s obituary, which has since been removed.
“In April she’ll be gone almost three years, and here someone is using her name to benefit them, like her death is benefiting them, and that’s just not right.”
She added she was devastated when she first saw her daughter’s obituary on the site.
“It just put a sword right through you, you know,” she said. “You’re here grieving and then you find out that someone is using her name. That’s just ridiculous.”
She said in her daughter’s case, she doesn’t understand why almost three years after her death the site would offer an option to send flowers.
“She died in 2015,” said Kelly. “They want to go in three years later and send her flowers – that don’t even make sense.”
Kelly said she e-mailed the address listed on the site for days asking that her daughter’s obituary be removed.
“I told them that I was the administrator to the estate, I have all legal rights to anything about Kimberly and that I was her mother… and I gave all the information up on that site (and said) that I wanted it removed.”
She added she did not give the owner of the site permission to use information about her daughter.
Kelly said after each email she would check the site to see if her daughter’s obituary had been removed.
Eventually she threatened legal action.
“At the end I just said I’m going to sue you, you’ve got till tomorrow till the lawyer’s office opens up and I’ll be going to the media, because I want it removed.”
Kelly said after all the emails she sent, she did not receive any reply from the site’s administrators.
A search of the Afterlife website by the Southern Gazette did find a copy of Kimberly Kelly’s obituary posted to the page, but the post was later removed.
Kelly also said she also noticed others who passed away around the same time as her daughter were also listed on the site.