When a loved one dies, it can feel like your life had been thrown into disarray. In addition to coping with your loss, you also have to deal with the minutiae of funeral planning. Small tasks can start to slip through the cracks, since you have so much to do. This guide can help you through the process of choosing and installing a cemetery headstone:
1. Choose the right material.
Above all, a headstone need to be durable. Cemetery monuments are meant to last the test of time, in order to allow relatives and friends to visit the deceased's grave throughout the generations. Materials like granite, bronze, marble, and limestone are all popular choices, and each has its pros and cons. Granite is inexpensive and very long-lasting, but it doesn't have the sophistication of marble or bronze. Meanwhile, bronze is more likely to discolor over time due to atmospheric conditions. If you need help selecting a headstone, your funeral home coordinator can advise you based on your specific needs.
2. Choose an epitaph.
Cemetery monuments feature engraved messages. Typically, they include the name of the deceased as well as their birth date and date of death. However, many people also choose to have an epitaph inscribed on their loved one's gravestone. The epitaph can be simple; some people like to have things like "beloved wife" or "beloved son" inscribed to commemorate that person's relationship to others. Alternatively, you may choose a quotation that summarizes the person's life or describes their character. An epitaph is a lovely way to honor your deceased loved one's memory.
3. Decide between upright or flat headstones.
Headstones come in two main types: flat or upright. Upright headstones are visible from a distance, and some people find them preferable, since they eliminate the risk of someone walking over your loved one's headstone. However, flat headstones tend to be more affordable, so you may want to consider one if you are on a budget.
4. Wait the appropriate length of time.
You may not realize that headstones and other cemetery monuments aren't placed as soon as a body is interred. After a grave is dug and filled, the soil needs time to rest, since it will settle and sink over time. Ideally you should wait at least six months post-burial to have a monument placed. This significantly reduces the chances of your cemetery monument becoming damaged due to the natural settling of the surrounding earth.