How to Write Epitaphs for Cemetery Headstones

How to Write Epitaphs for Cemetery Headstones

An epitaph is a short inscription on a headstone that appears next to the decedent’s name, birth date, and death date. While it’s hard to describe an entire person’s life in a few words, an epitaph is a great way to honor your loved one’s memory. A company that makes headstones for graves can help you through the process of choosing words that celebrate the life of the deceased. While reflecting on your loved one’s life can be painful at first, a year from now you’ll be grateful you took the time to choose a meaningful epitaph.

Write Concisely

With limited space to write on a cemetery headstone, less is more. Unless you plan on having a large grave monument, you’ll need to write concisely while still getting your point across. Keep in mind that different headstone materials may require large lettering, which decreases how many words can fit. If you are unsure how much can be fit into the headstone design, talk to the company that made the headstone.

Describe Life Roles

Think about what the decedent accomplished in life and what they would be most proud of. What roles did your loved one have in life? Were they a doting grandmother? Did they take pride in serving their country? Recognizing the decedent’s life roles can be a great way to summarize the impact they had on other people. Sharing your loved one’s legacy also brings comfort to those who visit the gravesite every year.

Example: “Beloved wife, mother, and friend.”

Use a Favorite Bible Verse

Was religion important to the decedent? Did the decedent have a favorite Bible verse that guided their life? If your loved one spent every Sunday in church, a short Bible verse can be the perfect way to honor their life. If no favorite verse comes to mind, we recommend flipping through the Bible until you find a verse that resonates with you. Since upright headstones don’t have a lot of space for writing, you’ll want to pick a short verse that encapsulates how they lived their life. You may also choose to pair their epitaph with headstone designs of the cross, doves, or other Christian imagery.

Example: “Whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” –John 3:15

Quote Poetry and Literature

Did the decedent love poetry or literature? With limited space for headstone quotes, we recommend choosing an excerpt from a poem or short story. Just make sure you credit the author if it’s something you didn’t write yourself. If the decedent wrote poetry, you may even want to put their own words on their tombstone. Alternatively, you may want to engrave the lyrics to a song that was meaningful to them.

Example: “Do not stand at my grave and cry, I am not there; I did not die.” – Mary Elizabeth FryeBlack Monument is a Grand Rapids cemetery memorial company that is dedicated to helping families after the death of a loved one. Keep in mind that you can also choose to pre-arrange your cemetery memorial so your tombstone quote reflects your values and beliefs. To learn about our headstones for sale or other cemetery memorials, call (616) 452-7802.

Posted in Pre-Planning

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