29 Nov How To Choose A Headstone Inscription For Your Loved Ones
When a loved one has been laid to rest in a cemetery the final stage of closure involves the placement of a headstone identifying their grave. It is here that we are given one final occasion to communicate to the world the significance of our loved one.
A headstone inscription often includes a person’s name and dates together with a headstone inscription. This may take the form of a piece of prose or a reference from the Bible. The aim is often to praise the humble virtues of the person who has died or to remind us of the bond between the living and the dead. It may be a symbol or reminder of our mortality or indeed immortality. This is a very personal choice, one that should not be influenced by others.
To help give you some inspiration in composing a headstone inscription (epitaph) for your loved one, we have assembled a collection of inscriptions which we think will make a beautiful gravestone.
Tips For Choosing a Headstone
1) “Less is more” – Inscriptions are usually short and concise. Even if you use the whole reverse of a headstone, you will be limited to a few lines. They are a chance, to sum up, a person’s life in just a few words, to give it shape and express real emotion.
2) Epitaphs often convey a strong feeling. However, the best epitaphs are timeless and not overly sentimental, and for this reason, I always advise waiting at least a year before choosing so that emotions have time to settle and you don’t later regret your choice.
3) Often, someone is speaking in the first person (a relative, a friend; the deceased). You might want to think about whose voice you want this to be.
4) Consider whether you want the epitaphs to speak directly to someone. This may be a passerby or the loved one themselves.
Top 5 Favourite Headstone Inscriptions
Over the years, we have crafted thousands of headstone inscriptions. Ranging from bespoke quotes, religious passages & short, kind messages. In order to provide you with some much-needed inspiration we have listed our top 5 Headstone Inscriptions below;
- Our brief partings on Earth will appear one day as nothing beside the joy of eternity together. And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance. (Gibran)
- For all we know this might only be a dream, we come and go like ripples in a stream. (Nat King Cole)
- Say not in grief that she is no more but say in thankfulness that she was A death is not the extinguishing of a light, but the putting out of the lamp because the dawn has come. (Tagore)
- Be sure, wherever I may roam, my heart is with your heart at home. Death is only a shadow across the path to heaven. Strive not, my soul, for an immortal life, but make the most of what is possible. (Pindar)
- I am the daughter of Earth and Water And the nursling of the Sky; I pass through the pores of the ocean and shores; I change, but I cannot die.
Rules and Restrictions
Before we go any further, it’s vital that you understand there can be restrictions on the type of engraving you opt for. Some churches may stipulate the style of engraving allowed in the churchyard, so it’s best to contact them in the first instance, rather than ordering something that contravenes their rules. If the memorial will be situated in a public cemetery, the local council should provide you with guidelines as to what is acceptable.
Short Memorial Headstones
Although providing a unique quote for your memorial inscription is often favoured when choosing an epitaph. We also recommend the option of using short & brief openings and endings. We have collated a list of some of our most profound epitaphs limited to only 1-5 words.
- Beloved, Dearly beloved.
- So loved.
- Into the sunshine.
- Dearly loved.
- Once met, never forgotten..
- Uncompromisingly unique.
- Remembered with love.
- Love you always.
- With a greater thing to do.
- Love is enough
- Peace perfect peace.
- Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
- Generous of heart, constant of faith.
- Love you miss you.
- So loved.
- In everloving memory of.
- Love is enough.
- May his memory be eternal.
- Always together.
- Devoted in love.
- Dance on…
- Always loving, always loved.
- Your love will light my way.
- Asleep in Jesus.
- Forever in our hearts.
- Until we meet again.
- Rest in Peace.
- Here lies.
- Ever loved.
- So loved.
- An inspiration.
- Loved and remembered.
- In God’s care.
- An inspiration to all.
- She walked in beauty
- Together again.
- Love is waiting.
- Once met, never forgotten.
- A long life well lived.
- Remembered with love.
- Great love lives on.
The Engraving Process
This is the physical transferring of your message on to the memorial. There is a range of options which start at simple stencilling and end with deep engraving plus gilded finish. Obviously, the deeper the engraving, the clearer the inscription will be to read and the longer it’s likely to last. That said, any kind of gilding, enamelling or painting will naturally fade over the years and will require a reapplication. Maintaining the memorial should help retain the effect and boost the longevity of both the lettering and stone itself.
We understand choosing a headstone inscription can be a difficult decision, especially if this is something which wasn’t predetermined with your loved one beforehand. We strongly recommend choosing a phrase or quote which summarises the individual as well as choosing something which perfectly expresses your thoughts and feelings. It is important that you take your time choosing the wording, this decision should not be rushed and you shouldn’t be made to feel guilty.
As a final tip & word advice, Consider choosing an epitaph that has an impact on those who read it. For example a line from a poem. ‘What will survive of us is love’ has an impact on everyone who reads it. Many people like to put for instance, ‘Beloved daughter, mother, sister and grandmother’ which in 20 years might seem slightly irrelevant. Far better to put something which will stand the test of time.