February 27, 2021
By: Adam Reeson
Certainly, most of us did not see this epidemic coming, and as a result, COVID has left us feeling unprepared.
Financially and emotionally, people have scrambled to weather the storm brought on by COVID-19. Unfortunately for some, this has meant dealing with the unexpected loss of a loved one.
Regardless if the deceased were elderly or in the prime of their life, the Coronavirus has made everyone take a step back and realize that it is smart and responsible to plan head. When choosing a headstone, that means thinking about the entire family and how it may effect their end of life decisions. While we see the value of individual memorialization, many family who choose cremation want to be interred and memorialized together. When this is the case, here are a few tips for Future Planning & Headstone Design.
A trend we are seeing is family members who are cremated being buried in the existing grave of a relative. Sometimes when this happens, the family would like to squeeze in additional lettering on the existing headstone instead of purchasing a flat grave marker. Occasionally, this works out OK, but more often than not, it frankly doesn’t look good. Some feel this practice is also not a very nice thing to do, as the person the original headstone memorializes was specifically designed for that individual and they may not appreciate their headstone being modified in this way years after they’re gone.
To avoid this problem, we recommend you take your time to think about if any other family members may wish to be memorialized on the headstone in the future. Including a sub-base (middle piece), like in the example above, is a great way that a family can provide space for future names without compromising the overall headstone design. If children of the deceased choose to be buried with their parents, there is space available for their names and dates. If they are buried elsewhere, the blank sub-base doesn’t look out of place on this memorial.
If multiple family members are memorialized on the headstone, than naturally it makes sense that the tombstone is designed together and reflects the preferences of everyone involved. Like choosing a car, house or clothing – taste and style is unique to each person. Headstone design is no different. Some people prefer a simple, traditional shape like the previous example, while many families are interested in a contemporary design, like the “Wallace” memorial below.
Another important question to consider is who would like a traditional burial and who would like to be cremated? This type of planning is critical when deciding how many plots need to be purchased by the family. Today, headstones can be designed with hidden compartments for cremated remains, like the “Turner” bench below. If some family members decide to be buried elsewhere, the hidden cremation compartments can be left empty or used to place keepsakes such as hand-written notes and mementos.
Naturally, the children of the deceased will want to know how much their parents’ headstone will cost. Although a larger memorial will be more expensive than a smaller memorial, long-term planning can actually save the family money. Like other natural resources, the cost of stone generally increases each year. This makes the value of creating a larger headstone for several family members today more economical than several headstones over a number of years.
Most importantly, future planning for a family’s headstone provides peace of mind in knowing that everyone is on the same page and won’t need to worry about difficult decisions while grieving the loss of a loved one. A qualified monument builder can help explain all of your options and create the right headstone design for everyone involved.
For Frontier Monuments, I’m Adam Reeson.