Short beautiful words for a gravestone.
What is an epitaph?
A short message referred to as an epitaph is usually added to the bottom of a memorial headstone along with the person’s name, date of birth, and date of death. Typically, the goal of the epitaph is to summerise your loved ones life, some words of wisdom they lived by or to share important values of your loved one.
How many lines does should an epitaph have?
Short and sweet is a good rule of thumb. Most epitaphs are just 1 or 2 lines long. Epitaphs really just give you the chance to sum up your loved ones life in just a few words. So try to express real emotion.
If you do want something longer, the back of the gravestone can be a good place for a longer inscription.
How do I choose an epitaph?
When choosing an epitaph keep in mind it can have several purposes:
1. An epitaph can tell everyone how you felt about your loved one, often in a couple of simple words such as “Much loved”. Try and focus on celebrating your love for them, rather than your grief for them. This can initially be very hard so its sometimes better to wait a while before choosing a headstone, to let your emotions settle a little bit.
2. An epitaph can tell everyone something about the character or achievements of your loved one. People often describe their loved ones “position in the family,” such as “a much loved mother and grandmother.” You can consider expanding on this with something that captures their essence, such as “unwaveringly unique.”
3. An epitaph conveys a timeless message to everyone, which draws people in to stop and think for a moment. It might be about God, love, mortality, beauty, loss or hope for example. A couple of lines from a poem might hint at something much deeper about your loved one but only those who know the whole poem will fully understand.
4. The Epitaph you choose might be something spoken by your loved one. Maybe even a favourite expression. These words will then comfort you when you or your relatives visit the gravestone because you will hear their voice each time you visit.
5. Finally one of the most important purposes of an epitaph is to heal, comfort and console you when you visit your loved ones grave. It’s really nice if the words can make you smile or make you think of the time you spent with your loved one, or to feel closer to them. Try to find the balance where an epitaph will stand the test of time for generations to come, but at the same time don’t forget the importance of choosing something that speaks to the heart.
“Only the good memories make you sad.”
– Alistair Vass Mackay MBE
We have put together the ultimate guide of beautiful epitaphs and short poetry verses that you can view from the links below.