A headstone is a marker that sits above a grave. Generally, headstones include the deceased's name, date of birth, date of death and sometimes a simple saying or verse. However, there are many ways to enhance a headstone, and make it a richer tribute for your loved one.
Simple Headstone Inscriptions
First, take a little time to really think about that person's life and what he meant to everyone. That should help you decide what kind of tribute would be most fitting. Here are a few basic categories that most headstone tributes fall into, as well as some examples of what you could have engraved.
Remarks in this category usually acknowledge something about a person's various roles in life. They might also include personal sentiments you'd like to express about your loved one.
- Here lies a beloved mother, wife, daughter, etc.
- Here lies a beloved husband, father, son, etc.
- Here lies a soldier who served his/her country well.
- The sun shined brighter because she was here.
- Beloved by family, cherished by friends
- The world is a richer place because he once lived.
Sometimes a less formal statement makes a wonderful quote to put on a headstone, especially if it's a direct quote of your loved one. Here are several examples.
- "I lived a good life. Now I'll have a good rest."
- "I hate to leave you all behind, but we'll meet again one day."
- "Live to the fullest, for life is all too short."
- "If I could do it all again, I wouldn't change a thing."
- "The greatest gift in life is love."
Death and Faith
Not true Bible verses, the following sayings still reflect a person's faith in the afterlife.
- Have faith we'll meet again.
- God called me home to Heaven.
- Parted by death, we'll be reunited in Heaven.
- Don't weep. I'm simply resting in God's arms.
- I soar with the angels and sing with the Heavenly choir.
Read the Bible and find scriptures that speak to you about your loved one's death. Here are examples from Scripture that would be appropriate for a headstone.
- "Whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." - John 3:15
- "Thy remembrance shall endure into all generations." - Psalm 102
- "They can no longer die; for they are like the angels." - Luke 20:36
- "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want." - Psalm 23
- " I will fear no evil for thou art with me." - Psalm 23
- "Where, O death, is your victory: where, O death, is your sting?" - 1 Corinthians 15:55
- "I know my redeemer lives..." - Job 19:25-27
- "...I am going there to prepare a place for you." - John 14:2
- "I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead yet shall he live." - John 11:25
Some headstones are large enough to write a short poem on them. You can write your own poem or use one already written by someone else and give the poet credit.
The following excerpt from John Donne's famous poem, Death Be Not Proud, could make a fitting message for a headstone.
"One short sleep past, we wake eternally
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die."
Emily Bronte's poem, Death, paints a striking image of a life cut down in its prime. There's one line in particular that would make a touching epitaph.
:"Sorrow passed, and plucked the golden blossom..."
The stone on the grave of author Mark Twain's daughter is engraved with the final stanza of a poem titled Annette, originally written by Robert Richardson. Twain altered the last line slightly to read:
"Good night, dear heart, good night, good night."
Writing Your Own Inscription
Deciding which inscription to place on a loved one's headstone is not always an easy thing to do. If you want to save your loved ones from the responsibility of choosing your epitaph, consider what you might like your headstone to say, and make sure your wishes are known ahead of time. Just choose carefully, even if you'd like it to be something funny, because whatever you have written will be the final impression you leave behind.