From: Dad (firstname.lastname@example.org)
To: My Jessie (email@example.com)
Honey, today is be your 21st birthday. You've grown into a beautiful, intelligent young lady. When I was your age I met your mother. Wow, I was starstruck. On our first date...
When on vacation one can set up Outlook to reply to any incoming mail automatically (Hi, I'm on vacation, Woo Hoo!). Why not apply the following rule: If there is no outgoing mail from this account for, say 6 months, then assume that the user has kicked the bucket. Upon this event a raft of emails could be sent to ones friends and family. These messages could be ones of passion to a loved one, of consolation to parents or even of humour.
From: Dirk (Dirk.firstname.lastname@example.org)
To: Mum (Vanessa.Bogart@aol.com)
So I've got the final blue screen of death? Sorry about that. The expense of the funeral and all. I guess it was a car crash. You always told me to watch my speeding. Yeah, yeah, don't start now. I just hope no one else was hurt. I'm an atheist so no need to worry about an afterlife....
Eventually some professional ghost mail service could evolve to extend the possibilities. An email could be sent to mark every birthday of your child as they grow up. By integrating the software with a news servive, the dead you could carry on gloating to a friend when the team you support is victorious. You could congratulate your child on their school grades or even answer some of their questions. Of course how young kids, or adults, would respond to messages from beyond the grave is an unknown factor. Some might be freaked, others may find them a source of comfort.
For online friends, including those on E2, this ghostly email may be the only way that they could find out about your death. You could provide instructions on whether to leave a message on your homenode. As users of the internet grow older they may be inclined to get their affairs in order before they pass away. Ghost mail may become commonplace in that event.