By: Adam Reeson
As the calendar moves toward March, we hope that Spring is on the way along with relief from this historically horrific winter in Saskatchewan.
For families who have recently lost a loved one, part of preparing for Spring is ordering a cemetery memorial. This involves meeting with a monument dealer and deciding on the size, shape and colour of the stone as well as the design and lettering to be engraved. Choosing the lettering obviously involves the names and dates of the deceased, but most monuments also feature an epitaph – which is a phrase in memory of the deceased.
For many families (including my own) this isn’t an easy choice. I mean, how do you summarize a life in a couple of words? It can feel overwhelming and I get asked all the time to provide some guidance on this topic. To help families choose the right words for their loved one’s headstone, here are my top 3 tips for choosing an epitaph:
1. Reflect on your loved one
Think about what was important in their life, such as their career, hobbies, faith, family, achievements and civic engagement. Sitting down to talk about their life with family and friends can help you recall special memories and positive traits to help narrow down which themes are most important.
Personality is another factor to consider here. For example, if your loved one had a sense of humour, choosing something light-hearted may be appropriate as long as it is in good taste. Legendary entertainer Merv Griffin’s monument in California is a great example of this type of an epitaph.
2. Do some quick research
Although most folks are familiar with a few common epitaphs, like “Rest in Peace” or “Together Forever”, there are literally hundreds of other ideas which are worth exploring. Many websites feature epitaph examples which are sortable by category to help you sift through loving expressions, Bible verses, famous quotes and more. Follow the links below or search “sayings for headstones” on Google to get started:
3. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box
A lot of families I serve ask what other people normally do for an epitaph. There is nothing wrong with choosing an epitaph you’ve seen elsewhere in the cemetery or found online, but my advice to families is to put some thought into it before going down that route.
Coming up with something unique to that person or even a favourite expression of theirs can make it more personal. Each time you visit the cemetery, seeing something that reminds you of that person can make you smile and remember their life as opposed to being reminded of their death. That’s what we did with my Dad’s memorial (image on left) and I’m glad we did. “A businessman of integrity. A family man of love” wasn’t completely original or unique – but it was Dad and that’s all that matters.
I hope that these quick tips are helpful as you explore your options for a memorial epitaph for your loved one. For additional support, please don’t hesitate to contact me at no obligation.
For Frontier Monuments, I’m Adam Reeson.
Posted by Frontier Monuments in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada on February 20, 2019