A THORNHILL MEMORIALS GUIDE
How to choose a headstone inscription
Finding the words for a headstone inscription that appropriately commemorate a loved one can be an incredibly difficult task. It can be challenging to capture the essence of a person in a short selection of words, but a memorial marks the place in which loved ones will visit for years to come, so it is important to get it right.
When making the decision of what to write on a headstone, the most important thing to keep in mind is your departed loved one and what is right for them.
A memorial is a final tribute to that person, and every decision should be made with them in mind. There are many different options available, and it can seem overwhelming, but we’re on hand to offer advice through this difficult process.
The most common choice of memorial inscription is an epitaph, which is a simple statement that honours the deceased. Epitaphs are sensitive, personal ways to memorialise a passed loved one and are often short and concise. These are brief descriptions of the person, for example ‘Devoted Husband and Father’ or ‘A Friend to All’. While an epitaph is a common choice for a gravestone inscription, it is not a required addition.
There are many other options for headstone wording, including religious extracts, poetry, song lyrics and famous quotes. Many people find solace in religious text, or find a poem perfectly encapsulates the personality of the departed. The choice entirely depends on the person you are honouring and finding the right way to meaningfully commemorate them. It is, however, important to remember that a headstone will stand for years, which should be considered when choosing any writing for an inscription.
01 – Less is more
A shorter memorial inscription will have more of an impact than a longer one. People often have a lot that they want to include on a loved one’s headstone, but it is important to ask yourself whether it is all necessary. For example, rather than writing out entire birth and death dates, many people choose to just include the years. Keeping the message short and simple will give the memorial a stronger feel.
02 – Be unique
Classic phrases such as ‘in loving memory’ have become very common, but we often advise thinking about more unique wording for a memorial. There are endless possibilities for a memorial and finding the right words can seem daunting, but doing some research into different options can help you find the perfect choice.
Spend some extra time thinking about your own words that have a more personal meaning.
03 – Take your time
Take plenty of time to think through what you want and what is most appropriate. There is no rush to decide on an inscription, and it is often better to wait for some time after the passing of a loved one to make that important decision.
It can be surprisingly easy to overlook important details during the stress surrounding death, so we will always recommend holding off on that final decision.
04 – Avoid humour
Many people try to honour their loved one’s personality with a humorous quote, but this is something that can be hard to get right. It is difficult to capture a sharp sense of humour in as few words as a memorial generally allows, and without context a witty quote can often fall flat.
A memorial should be a timeless way to honour someone who has passed, so we advise sticking to something simple and ageless.
It is also important to remember that certain cemeteries have their own restrictions on headstone inscriptions, so it is best to contact them in the first instance before making any decisions. Aside from any cemetery regulations, there is not a right or wrong decision for a loved one’s memorial; only what feels right.
For more information or further memorial advice, please contact us today.