How to Write a Headstone Inscription that Honors a Loved One

If you’re wondering what you should engrave on a gravestone, you’re not alone. Finding beautiful words to put on a headstone is even harder when you’re reeling from grief. This process shouldn’t be rushed, since it’s meant to represent your loved one in the coming decades or even centuries.

Here are some tips to write a fitting and thoughtful inscription:

  • Avoid clichés: “Rest in peace” and “in loving memory” are popular to the point where they’ve become clichés. While there’s no shame in using one of these phrases, there may be a better way to get the message across.
  • Do some research: One of the best ways to get ideas is to look at other headstones for inspiration. Whether you walk through a cemetery or look at photos of headstones online, it can give you a sense of what other people have chosen for their loved ones’ gravestone inscriptions. Sometimes a specific phrase will stand out, while, in other cases, you might simply find clichés and other things you wish to avoid.
  • Turn to classic texts: There’s no way to sum up how important your loved one was on a simple headstone—human lives and personalities are complex. If you’re struggling to find what you want to say, think about finding a quote from classic texts, such as the Bible, Koran or even poetry. Many writers and religious figures have found the words to honor another’s passing. Consider relying on their wisdom instead of reinventing the wheel.
  • Aim for simplicity and timelessness: Headstones usually include the person’s name, dates of birth and death and a simple, meaningful line about who they were, what they valued or what they meant to you. Choose simple, readable fonts, and keep images, logos and other designs to a minimum.
  • Choose personalization carefully: If you do decide to personalize a headstone further, choose it carefully. Adding more words, photos and design elements can quickly take the gravestone from meaningful to cluttered. Remember that this is a monument to a loved one, rather than a comprehensive tribute to their life.
  • Take your time: Don’t feel pressured into designing the gravestone immediately after your loved one’s death. This stressful time can lead to you making choices you’ll regret later. Whether it takes weeks or months, you’ll feel more comfortable knowing you explored all your options.
  • Have someone else proofread or fact-check: Finally, make sure you have someone else look over what you’ve written before you send it off. When you’ve been staring at the same words for days or weeks, your brain is more likely to see what you intended, rather than what’s really there. A second opinion can catch any errors.

When you’re searching for beautiful words to put on a headstone, sometimes it’s best to ask people with experience. Evergreen Funeral Home, Cemetery & Cremations is here to help. Call us to ask for advice and assistance with a gravestone inscription. We’ll help you find the right words, even in a tough time.