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A Guide to Choosing Headstones for Graves

Tulika Nair Nov 20, 2018
Coping with the loss of a loved one can sometimes be made easier by choosing headstones that can serve as reminders of better times and happier moments. People believe that these monuments often help in the grieving process.
"Say not in grief: "He is no more", but live in thankfulness that he was."
This Hebrew proverb encapsulates the essence of how to cope with losing someone. Death of a loved one is never easy to deal with. Grieving for them is natural and wanting to hold on to things that belonged to them is way of keeping their memories alive.
Headstones are another way of creating a memorial to someone you have lost. They are permanent reminders of the people whom you love and no longer have around you. Even if you have cremated someone you can have headstones and monuments to remember them by. Besides having emotional value, headstones also serve as relics of the days gone by documenting death.

Choosing Headstones

How does one go about the task of choosing headstones? While traditionally headstones were simple plaques with the name of the deceased and their dates of birth and death, today headstones tend to be more symbolic in nature representing the person who has passed away.
It is important that while making this decision, you choose headstone designs that is reflective of their interests and the way they spent their life. The headstone is going to be one of the main reminders of a person and adding personal accents the headstone makes it a little more important for the family.
Many experts have gone on record saying that a permanent memorial is important to help people in their process of grieving. Headstones are therefore very important. In some traditions, customs define that you need to have an unveiling of a headstone; sometimes this period can be as long as a year.
Since headstones are intended to be lasting for a while, it is important that you get it made from sturdy material. Most headstones are made of either granite or bronze or may even be a combination of the two. For many years, headstones were made of sculpted stones that were upright and had information on them.
Today, such headstones are generally used as marks for families as a whole. Nowadays, designs for headstones are generally smaller and more unique which are made to stand on the ground at the head of a grave. They are symbolic of the interests of the person they are memorials for. 
Many people prefer designing headstones pre-need, which have the name of the person and date of birth inscribed on the monument at the time of designing. The death dates are added later. While this practice may seem a little morbid to some, it is a growing trend amongst people who want to choose their own headstones.

Headstone Sayings

One of the most important decisions that you will have to take regarding your headstone once you have decided on the design is what the headstone will say. Every headstone has an epitaph and choosing this can be a task in itself.
While normally epitaphs or headstone inscriptions mention the name of the person, their dates of birth and death and simple messages like Rest in Peace, many people are now opting to have personalized inscription on headstones. It is important to plan this out well. You should avoid being pressured into hurrying with the markings.
It is important that you choose headstone sayings that are befitting to the person who has passed away. If the price is a factor, then you could opt to have a simple inscription. These headstones may not have eye-catching designs but that should not take away from the sentiment expressed. 
Elaborate headstones can be a more expensive option that you can design the way you want with inscriptions of your choice. Given here are inscriptions on headstones of some famous people which can give you ideas for headstone inscriptions.
That's All Folks, The Man of 1,000 Voices, Mel Blanc : Mel Blanc who was the voice of Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Elmer Fudd, Daffy Duck and many other Disney stars

Called Back, Emily Dickinson: Emily Dickinson
My Jesus Mercy, Alphonse Capone: Al Capone

Even amidst fierce flames the golden lotus can be planted: Sylvia Plath

She Did It The Hard Way: Bette Davis
The body of B. Franklin, Printer
Like the Cover of an old Book
Its Contents turn out
And Stript of its Lettering and Guilding
Lies here, Food for Worms
For, it will as he believed appear once more
In a new and more elegant Edition
corrected and improved
By the Author: Benjamin Franklin
Truth and History.
21 Men.
The Boy Bandit King --
He Died As He Lived. - Billy the Kid
In testimony of their Respect
The Patriot of incorruptible Integrity,
The Soldier of approved Valour
The Statesman of consummate Wisdom;
Whose Talents and Virtues will be admired
Grateful Posterity
Long after this Marble shall have mouldered into Dust: Alexander Hamilton
This Grave
contains all that was Mortal
of a
Young English Poet
on his Death Bed
in the Bitterness of his Heart
at the Malicious Power of his Enemies
these words to be engraved on his Tomb Stone
"Here lies One Whose Name was writ in Water. : John Keats
Headstones are your last tribute to a person who meant a lot to you. It is your way of remembering them. There is no better way of holding on to memories of people you love than with these headstones for graves which are symbolic of the people they were.