How to Choose a Memorial Headstone for a Loved One

Death and the resulting feelings of grief and loss are two of the most difficult emotions that we as humans will ever face. The fact is, that no matter how much someone tells us, or how much our minds even understand that death is a natural part of life; when it actually happens to someone near and dear to us we feel intense pain, sorrow, and an overwhelming grief. Although death is said by some to give meaning to our very existence because it reminds us how precious life really is, that is the furthest thing from our minds during the stressful event. For all the advice psychologists and other mental health professionals give to those suffering from grief, not a single one can say it is easy. In fact, coping after a loved one dies occurs over time in steps called a grieving process. This grieving process is said to have five steps. Those steps are: 1. denial and isolation 2. Anger 3. Bargaining 4. Depression 5. Acceptance. The final step of acceptance is when our hearts are beginning to heal and the sadness is tapering off. Our minds have accepted the reality of the loss in our lives and we are ready to start remembering the good times we shared and memorialize the deceased.

During this final step of the grieving process is when most people choose to design and purchase a memorial headstone for their loved one. Here at Headstones USA we understand that just because you have accepted the reality of your loss does not mean the process of choosing a monument will be an easy one and we work very hard to insure the process is as effortless as possible for you. This is an important step in your healing process and we want to assist you in making the best choice. Our friendly and knowledgeable customer service staff will help you to select a headstone that fits within your cemetery’s regulations, your budget, and yet fulfills your idea of the perfect tribute to your loved one and a life well lived. Our high quality solid granite tombstones will be an timeless tribute that family members for generations to come can come and pay their respects.

Like any important decision, when choosing a headstone or grave marker there are several things that need to be taken into consideration. First and most importantly, is to research and acquire your cemetery’s specific regulations for the headstones they will allow to be placed upon burial plots within their grounds. This is very important because if you design and purchase a memorial that does not fit within the regulations a cemetery will NOT allow you to set the stone and you will have wasted both time and money. On our main information page we have a link that pertains to the this topic but if you need assistance in contacting your cemetery we are more than happy to assist you with this step. Once you have secured the required specifications and are aware of what type of memorials you can choose from there are several different options you will need to make decisions on. These options are: material, size, color, accessories, epitaph and personalization, and meaningful engraved or sandblasted designs.

The material refers to the type of material the actual monument will be made of. At Headstones USA we deal primarily with granite because it possesses such a natural beauty and it is one of the hardest and most durable substances in the world. The use of granite is probably one of the most popular because most cemeteries will allow some form of granite memorials and it is so durable. In fact, some cemeteries may require you to use granite, while other will allow other materials such as marble. The second option of size refers to the actual size of the marker that the cemetery will allow to be placed upon the burial plot. Some cemeteries will provide you with a minimum size and a maximum size, while others will be more specific and require a specific style such as a flat marker with specific measurements, or an upright with a base that is within a certain size.. Again, it is very important to select and purchase a memorial within your cemetery’s regulation sizes or they will NOT allow you to set it upon the burial plot. The third option refers to the actual color of the granite. Granite comes in a variety of colors and some people choose the color based upon the preference of the individual the memorial is for, while others choose on their preference, and still others choose the color to either match surrounding stones or set the monument apart from surrounding stones. Some cemeteries restrict the color of headstones so you will want to verify that your cemetery has no such regulations. If the cemetery has no color regulations, the decision is up to you and is totally a personal preference.

Now that the material, color, style, and size of the memorial for your loved one has been determined it is now time to decide how you will personalize it. One way to personalize a monument is to accessorize it with a funeral flower vase or cemetery urn. Some styles of monuments will have vases or urns attached, some will not. However, this is a feature that many people enjoy because it allows them to bring flowers to the gravesite and change them out with the seasons. Flowers are a great accent to any memorial and a way you can pay continual tribute to your loved one. Another way to accessorize your headstone is to add a ceramic photo of the deceased. This not only shows the world how you want them to be remembered, but also adds a personal touch to the epitaph. At Headstones USA we have both monuments that include a vase, or urns you can purchase separately to accessorize any stone or style of your choice. If you need assistance in choosing a style that would fit with a tombstone you have chosen contact us for a free consultation and we will assist you in all of the designing steps. We also have a wide variety of sizes and styles of ceramic photos to choose from so feel free to navigate around our site to view all of our accessory options.

The final step in designing a memorial headstone is the personalization. Generally people start with the person’s full name, date of birth, and date of death. This will allow future generations to complete genealogy research and for your loved one to be remembered. However, many people choose to personalize the memorial further by adding an epitaph such as “In Loving Memory”, or by adding the deceased’s favorite quote or bible verse. Still others will add the names of the children or even the parents, siblings or a spouse to further identify the deceased to future generations. The possibilities for phrases, poems, quotes and or ways to personalize the memorial in this ways are literally limitless and can be as creative and original as you would like them to be. In addition to personalizing a tombstone by the epitaphs and written word is to add a design, emblem, or insignia that was meaningful to the deceased in life or symbolizes them to you in death. This could be a military symbol, an organization symbol (such as the Masons, the Elks, the Boy Scouts, etc.), or the insignia of a sport, religious symbols (such as crosses, bibles, a rosary, the Star of David, and etc.), or even an animal, hobby, occupation, or vehicle just to name a few. The important thing is to choose a design that symbolizes your loved one and that will be how you think they would want to be remembered. You could include a beautiful floral design, or even add a nature scene that includes birds and a landscape. Again, the important thing is to keep your loved one in mind and to consider the symbolism behind the images you choose,. For example, a popular design choice is a dogwood tree floral design. The flowers of dogwood trees historically symbolize Christianity, divine sacrifice, the triumph of eternal life, and resurrection but if your loved one was not religious or even atheist, this may not be the best way to memorialize them. If you need assistance in choosing an appropriate design we are here to help. You will find a link to our standard designs, but we have thousands of designs and even font styles that are not yet published to our page so if you are looking for something and do not see it, feel free to contact us. We also gladly accept designs of your original creation. At Headstones USA we want to do whatever we can to help you create the perfect memorial to your loved one at a price you can afford so contact us today and see what sets us apart from the competition. 2/15/2010


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