You try to deal with the death, the funeral, burying your loved one and then the gravesite marker, the monument that serves as the only sign that there is someone who was so alive, who was such an important part of your life and who was so special is now lying right below it.
How do you have to decide what will represent them forever? With so many options, it can become overwhelming. For me it was. It was the final touch, the finale to his life.
There are many shapes, sizes, colors, etching, ceramic photos, vases, crosses, etc. I visited several cemeteries and even took pictures of different ideas. I felt like I was losing it, abnormal; and I was. It is not normal.
Actually even where to bury them can be difficult. We weren't sure where our other two children would end up raising their future families, and whether we would stay in the area. I knew we would always visit the area where most of my family is from, so we chose that area. My aunt, she's also my Godmother, gave us the two plots on the other side of her and my uncle. This put him right in the middle of family members who had preceded him in death.
There is something amiss in the length of time it took to get our son's headstone completed. Being a few hours away made the task a bit more difficult; I also worried that I was forgetting something important. It was finally complete on Trevor's two-year angel date. As each person saw it, it was quite emotional; maybe because of the long wait, or the seeing his face on it, or maybe that it was the proof: He is gone.
It wasn't done exactly as I had envisioned; but it was done, it looked nice and it had the things we wanted:
- A bible verse his brother picked out-Lamentations 3:22-24 which says, "The Lord's unfailing love and mercy shall continue fresh as the morning. A sure as the sunrise. The Lord is all I have, and so in Him I put my hope."
- A ceramic, actual photo under his name. I had preferred an etching but it would have had to have been shipped to another location for that.
- Many close to him knew about a song he sang from an old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movie; we even had a video of him singing it at the funeral. A line from this song was etched "That's why I play right field way up where the dandelions grow." Hence the colored, etched baseball and glove. Having four dandelions represent the four of us he left behind.
The back side has his token "I heart" the last thing he wrote before he died of a glioblastoma (brain cancer) with more ceramic photos, including a collage of photos of him throughout his life.
How to Plan a tombstone:
- Set your budget
- Decide if you will want a small plaque set in the ground, a basic headstone or a customized shape.
- Decide on the color. Typically bronze for small plaques, and granite for stones-the colors range from light gray, to a rose-pink to black. (Some cemeteries have some restrictions as to the size or type used)
- Will you put information on both sides or one.
- Decide on the information:
- Minimally the name, birthdate and death date.
- Additionally, carvings or etchings which can be symbols such as a cross, heart, sport, something
- An epitaph, quote, bible verse or loving message can be etched on the stone
- Ceramic photos can be attached to the stone. A copy of an actual photo.