Writing a Headstone Inscription? Here Are 5 Tips to Get It Right

Jul 16, 2021Writing

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The moment right after losing a loved one passes in a blur. There’s so much pain and for close family members, a sense of inaction. Still, you’ll have to rise above all this and take control of the situation. There’s a lot to do even during this traumatic time to ensure your loved one gets a deserving send-off. Choosing the right words for the headstone is one of the toughest tasks you have to undertake.

Photo by Matthias Groeneveld from Pexels

While you know the deceased well, getting the right words to capture their life perfectly is difficult. This post offers simple tips to guide you through this difficult task.

Avoid Overused Phrases 

You might face a tough time getting the right words, but you shouldn’t opt for overused phrases. Such phrases might imply the family had little to say about the deceased. Remember, the words you choose are part of the memory those who come after you will have about the deceased. You don’t want to choose a phrase that’s on every other headstone in that graveyard.

Create a Custom Epitaph

Your loved one was unique, and this is what you want to reflect on the choice of headstone and the inscription. Choose words that reflect the reality of the deceased’s life. Don’t do everything alone, and instead talk to other family members for inspiration.

Take Your Time

There’s a lot of work involved in a headstone inscription. You can’t just lift some words from another grave marker and use them as your own. Consider the entire task, including the wording, font, and style. Inscriptions on cemetery grave markers last for ages and you have to invest your time to choose the right words. Do your research to add to the knowledge you already have.

After you’ve created the final draft, go over everything once more. Double-check the spelling, countercheck the dates from the birth certificate and the date from the death certificate. Make sure the rest of the family has a look before you finally have this on the headstone.

Simple Is the Way to Go

Of course, you’ve so much to say but as Leonardo da Vinci said, “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” There’s so much your loved one has accomplished in life, but you’ve only so much space to write all this. The idea is to embrace minimalism both in the choice of the grave marker and in the words used.

Make sure you have the Name and dates, a brief inscription or quote, and simple ornamentation. The last thing you want is a crowded headstone that people struggle to read through. Keeping it simple also lowers the cost.

Don’t Fall for Trends

When choosing the words, letter styling, and headstone, don’t be tempted to go for trending styles. It might look like a great idea today, but what about 30 years down the line? Your grandchildren might wonder what you people were all about. Go for a timeless font style and a properly shaped headstone that will serve the purpose. And of course, there’s headstone etiquette so make sure the wording is appropriate.

For such a few words, there’s so much you have to consider. You can opt to get inspiration from music or poetry or use phrases your loved one loved. Whatever you choose, keep it simple, authentic, and relevant. It’s the least you can do to honor your loved one.


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