Headstones and Markers: Choosing A Memorial For Your Loved One

By: Ben Anton

The gravesite marker is a permanent fixture; a tribute that will be seen and remembered for eternity. It is therefore important to give thought to choosing the right marker for your family members. Pre-planning for a death allows family and friends to act precisely in accordance with the wishes of the deceased. The person who has pre-planned their funeral and gravesite marker before they die will have everything from the ceremony arrangements to the gravesite location exactly the way that they wish and will help alleviate the stress and burden on the family during a very difficult time.

Some families choose to put off the decision to buy a gravesite marker for weeks or even months after the funeral is over if the decision was not made prior to the loss of a loved one. The event is such a stressful and grief-filled time that it can be hard to make such permanent and important decisions. Instead of rushing into a decision that is not quite perfect, it is wise to wait until things have calmed down. You should never rush into the purchase of a gravesite marker or settle for one that is less than ideal.

There are many different styles and types of gravesite markers. They vary in style, purpose and cost. The markers can range from a small, simple plaque set into the ground with the basic personal information to mark the gravesite, or it could be as detailed and grand as a large monument or statue in the middle of the graveyard. The choice is entirely up to the family or deceasedís preferences. Most long-lasting markers are made of granite or bronze. Both of these mediums can be easily customized with the etching or engraving desired by the family. They also will last through the ages and will maintain their beauty with some basic care.

A funeral director or a representative from the graveyard can help you determine the right gravesite marker for your situation. Many cemeteries have restrictions on the size or type of gravesite marker allowed in the cemetery or in the particular area where the burial site will be located. There may also be a restriction based on the size of the plot. Talk with the funeral director or cemetery caretaker about your options before making a gravesite marker purchase.

Engravings or carvings on gravesite markers can also vary widely. Depending on the size of the marker and the wishes of the deceased, the marker may include the deceased name and dates of birth and death only. The engravings on a headstone or monument may be lengthier with an epitaph, quote or loving message from the family. The words on the stone should be thoughtfully considered as they stand as a memorial to the life of the deceased. Whatever you choose, keep the interests of the dead first and the interests of the living a distant second.

The choice in gravesite markers should be one that is well thought out. You may have to settle for a slightly smaller marker in order to pay for the full extent of the engraving that you desire, or you might have to buy a smaller marker to afford the decorative scrollwork around the edges. From granite to a shiny brass plate, just make sure that your gravesite marker is one that your loved one would have appreciated.

~Ben Anton, 2008

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