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How is a Headstone Made
Installing a Headstone
Caring For Your Headstone
Environmentally Friendly Headstones
Ideas for Selecting the Right Headstone
How a Headstone Helps Grief
Designing a Headstone
A Grave Marker comes in many Shapes and Forms
One of the most trying times in our lives is the passing of those we love. The process of acceptance can be as long as it is difficult. Along with this process goes the necessity to bid farewell in a manner we feel is appropriate. The last farewell we are able to extend is that of a grave marker. Grave markers are a way of memorializing the ones we love and a way of saying goodbye. Over the centuries there have been many versions of what we now consider to be grave markers. Early on such things as boulders and stones were laid at the foot of graves, hence the term ‘foot stone’. Slabs of stone were also set on graves but for far less honorable reasons. Superstition was the root these actions as it was feared that the dead would rise up and escape their graves if not kept down with heavy rocks. When headstones were placed at the head of a grave they were adorned with etchings of skulls and gravedigger’s shovels. These dark images were meant to preserve the dead within their final resting places rather than honor their memory. As time has passed so have the fears that once surrounded death. No longer do we as a society feel the need to restrain the remains of the dead under slabs of stone grave markers. The business of death is handled in a very different manner than it was just a few centuries ago.
Today there is much preparation surrounding the burial of a loved one. Such extremes go into choosing just the right casket and the most appropriate place for them to be laid in - as is the choice of which memorial grave marker will be the most befitting to the individual. The flower arrangements are chosen in such a manner as to compliment the very personality of the deceased as does the ceremony. There is but one way that serves as a means to express ones’ final farewell. The grave marker is a lasting tribute to the ones that have passed, a way for those who suffer this loss to cope during the grieving process, and a lasting mark in history.
Customarily a grave marker displays the full name, birth date, and date of passing of the deceased. In addition, a grave marker will also have a phrase or special saying added to further pay respects to the dead. Picture tiles, otherwise known as ceramic portraits, may be placed on the marker, as well as a small vase to accommodate flowers by well-wishers to come. The materials most commonly used to make grave markers are granite, marble and bronze. The methods used to create the displays on the grave markers are raised letters, laser etching or sandblasting. Portraits and vases can then be added to further personalize the marker.
With less superstition and a more respectful sentiment toward the business of death, death itself has indeed become a business. There are few times in one’s life that one is as vulnerable as we are during the loss of a loved one. It takes an incredible amount of strength to manage through our normal routine during the grieving process much less have the ability to plan and execute a funeral for someone dear to us. This is common knowledge. It is also a fact that some people use to their advantage. Our lack of usual judgment does not afford us the ability to recognize the tell-tale signs of being taken advantage of during our weakest hour.
More often than not it is common practice for loved ones to want the very best for their dearly departed. The grieving process has its own plan and regardless of the needs of the moment, we are in a constant struggle with the steps of bereavement. Confusion, disorientation, and forgetfulness are all part of the grieving process. It is during this time that one must make important decisions concerning the final arrangements of a funeral. So it is no wonder that so many things can be easily overlooked by those who are grieving. People enter into this situation with the belief that their feelings will be taken into consideration, and that their needs will be met with respect and thoughtfulness.
In addition to the grieving process another factor weighs heavily on the bereaved. Time is of critical importance during this ordeal. Though some aspects of a funeral may have been pre-arranged, the majority of deaths come with little warning. More often than not people have but a matter of days to completely plan out every aspect of a funeral, and the details are all equally important. It seems that there is always one more detail to consider, one more piece to be put in its place and whether or not we are able to do this we know the importance of these final arrangements. Plots, caskets, grave markers, headstones, flowers, and ceremonial procedures all need to be considered and chosen carefully. It is with this in mind that we put our trust in the knowledge and experience of a funeral home. While most funeral homes will handle the arrangements with honesty and integrity, it is always important to be aware of what goes into preparing for a funeral - and this is why:
The moment we walk into a funeral parlor we are met with the utmost respect. From the manner in which we are first approached to the tone of voice directed at us it seems that this individual has a full understanding of what we are going through at this particular time. We are relieved to think the heavy burdens we brought with us may be somewhat alleviated. As the process of making the final arrangements continues, it becomes easier and easier to relinquish control of the situation to able hands of the funeral parlor. Again it is here where we are at our most susceptible.
As difficult as it is to believe, people can sometimes be taken advantage of during this difficult period. Those who choose to do so are quite aware of how vulnerable a person is during the loss of a loved one, and they will take full advantage. Historically, owners of cemeteries and funeral parlors have developed a bit of a reputation for charging dramatically inflated prices for their plots, caskets, grave markers, and other accessories. But, throughout the late part of the 20th century, as these practices have became more and more common, recent laws designed to protect consumers were enacted. These laws were put in place to aid the victims of these sales tactics and abusive practices that have become so prevalent in the business. In the intervening years, the memorial business has become much less abusive toward its customers (in fact, most observers say it's now only a small minority of owners who are “bad apples”), but it is still a good idea for grieving customers to ask questions of their memorial industry professionals. Reputable establishments will have no objection to answering your tough questions thoroughly and honestly. When looking for a grave marker for your family, it's important to keep these thoughts in mind in order to assure you and your loved one get exactly the grave marker you deserve to protect and preserve your family memories.