22 comments on “What Should Be Carved On Your Tombstone?

  1. You should visit the cemetery island of Venice. San Michele (mikele) is incredible for the inscriptions on the monuments. Many famous people are buried there in the various sections, one is Catholic, the other is Orthodox Christians, one is Protestant. One section is for children under 5 yrs of age, a bit sad really, another is for Priest and Nuns, and one for the Military. The flowering trees and other flowering bushes are beautiful as are the monuments. The inscriptions are priceless, many of the people where noblemen or diplomats, their full titles are given and accomplishments in service of their Imperial Majesty etc… Makes for a grand tombstone. I want to be buried there, it is such a lovely cemetery.

  2. I remember the first time I saw the pictures on the Tombstone. It was kind of creepy, but then I was younger. My favorite epitaph is Ed Wynn’s “Dear God, Thank You.” – There is one here in Ames that I saw that has a poem on it that starts out “Strew no fading flowers here… I have always been going to copy it but I can’t seem to find it. As for my own…there won’t be one. I am to be cremated with my ashes scattered in the Skunk River (if they will let me) so that they might eventually make it to New Orleans in time for Mardi Gras..

  3. You’re inspired a lot of thought in me about this subject. Ur-Spo’s post about this did as well.

    I appreciate the epitaphs that have a little levity like Wallace Ford or W. C. Fields. Since I believe the whole “Upon my death” instruction to be for the benefit of those we leave behind, when someone who inspired laughter tries to leave a little bit of themselves like that, I think it’s very special.

    Interesting observation about loving and beloved. Also, very interesting to think about what someone instructed for their stone to say as opposed to what was chosen for them. In ours we both left our bodies to science but also both included a “do whatever it is you need to do for yourself” out-clause for whomever is handling things. If someone were to choose an epitaph for me, I’d really hope it would be something like, “He was kind,” or “He was a nice guy.” I live every day trying to be as kind as I can be.

    Really brilliant thought about leaving a QR Code! I wonder if anyone’s done that!
    Seriously though, what would you like yours to say, ethereally speaking?

    • I’m a cremation guy so the issue won’t really arise but I really think “Who Knew?” is a contender. It is an expression I use so to people who knew me (by then, past tense) it will sound familiar. It is a bit humorous, a bit whimsical, and yet has an underlying meaning. Not sure what, if anything, the afterlife is like but by then I will know and any reader still won’t know yet. It recognizes the possibilty of some kind of epiphany but does not express any positive or negative characterization of it.

    • The “I told you I was sick!” has already been used. It is a tourist highlight of the Key West cemetery along with some of the seamen from the Maine battleship explosion in Havana harbor.

    • There is an older (by Phoenix standards) cemetery here that has built a nice area to commemorate people who’ve been cremated and had their ashes scattered at the cemetery. They affix small plaques to chunks of marble or granite and put them under trees or in the landscaping around a fountain.

      Sent from my iPhone

  4. You’re good! Hey, I have two more Find a Grave (FAG) requests to fill tomorrow. Two different cemeteries. One in Lewes and one in Rehoboth Beach. On the nippy side around here now so I don’t have my usual competition for full filling these photo requests.
    One of the big pluses (and I don’t know whether I discussed this with you or not) in being a FAG photo volunteer is seeing all the different types of headstones. One pattern you can tell is the big, black marble ones with the likeness of the young man etched into the marble and usually some kind of vehicle, either a motor cycle, pickup truck or car. The decedent is always young. Lots of “too-dads” around the grave site. What that grave tells you is that young man died in an auto accident. Then there are the hunting accidents. They also have the decedent’s likeness etched into the black marble and a wooded scene. I see them all the time. Perhaps the saddest are the little gravestones for children who died. I almost always stop and pause to give a moments reflection on such a young life and wonder what could have been (like I’m doing now.)
    So you see there is a lot more to being a Find a Grave photo volunteer than just taking photos of headstones. I feel like this is my mission in life.

    By the way, I LOVE the epitaph “Who knew?” LOVE IT!

    • The children’s ones are sad. Part if it is, in several of the cemeteries I’ve visit around here. they are separated into a special section for children. The graves as smaller so they can sell more spaces in a given block that way. Also, it seems, at least here, children are more likely to be unmarked. There will be 80 graves in a block and manybe 12-15 have markers.

  5. No one is fun(ny) about theirs. I’m not to be buried, but if I were, it’d say something like: “oh my g-d…it’s dark and cold…get me OUT of here!!!!”

  6. Pardon (or not) the appearance of trying to drum up business: search ‘When Heroes Go Down’ on my blog to find my answer to ‘What’ might appear on my own tombstone. In spite of my being glib about it in the post, I think it’s a lovely sentence. Thanks!

    • That is a good one, indeed. Since I wrote that posting I saw another interesting one. The man dies in his 70’s. The epitaph was; “I’ve had better”. Not sure what that means.

  7. I have always liked:
    And if thou wilt remember,
    And if thou wilt forget.
    The trouble with it is that in about 50 years no one will be around who remembers. I suppose I’m hoping for more rememberers than forgetters.

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