The message on a headstone is very important. After all, headstones last
for years, and they remind the living of those who have passed on.
Most headstones include the name of the deceased with his or her year of
birth and year of death. And, as you've probably noticed while strolling
through a cemetery, many headstones also include an epitaph: a short message
written by the living in memory of the deceased. This epitaph usually
represents both what the deceased would have wanted to be remembered for
and what the living friends and family want to honor.
If you choose to remember your loved one with an engraved epitaph, take
your time and choose a message that expresses your love and respect.
How to Write an Epitaph
When you write an epitaph for your departed loved one, consult with family
and close friends. What do they think would be a fitting tribute and loving
reminder of the deceased? Most epitaphs are fairly short and concise,
but they convey a powerful message. Choose a message that comes from the heart.
Because you might be writing an epitaph during a very emotional time, we've
compiled a list of epitaphs that we think express love, sincerity, and
devotion. Perhaps an epitaph here-or one like it-will pay the perfect
tribute to your loved one.
Epitaphs That Focus on Relationships
Perhaps your loved one would most want to be remembered for his or her
relationships. And the epitaph on the headstone does, in many ways, communicate
how living friends and family feel about the person. With that in mind,
you may want to write something that pays tribute to your loved one from
your perspective. Choose an epitaph like one of the following:
- "Beloved _______" (wife, husband, mother, father, daughter, son, etc.).
- "Cherished friend and beloved companion."
- "Soldier, teacher, friend, leader" (or similar roles).
You may also consider including a religious quote beloved by the deceased-a
verse from the Bible, an ayah from the Quran, or a verse from the Torah
are examples. These statements can express the person's beliefs and
provide comfort for religious family members who remain.
Many family members choose to write a short, personalized statement on
the headstone, such as, "A long life well lived," "Loved
and remembered," or "Forever in our hearts." Consult with
family and close friends to write something meaningful and respectful.
Epitaphs From Poetry
The world's poets, writers, and lyricists have written beautiful words
about life and death. Below are a few simple, sweet sayings that hold
· "There hath pass'd away a glory from the earth."
· "And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you
truly dance." (Kahlil Gibran)
· "To unpathed waters, undreamed shores." (William Shakespeare)
· "Tread softly because you tread on my dreams." (W.B. Yeats)
· "Death is but crossing the world, as friends do the seas;
they live in one another still." (William Penn)
· "It is not length of life, but depth of life." (Ralph
· "To touch the soul of another human being is to walk on holy
ground." (Stephen R. Covey)
· "We only part to meet again." (John Gay)
If your loved one enjoyed reading or loved the work of a particular creative
person, it may be a fitting tribute to use a few lines from that individual's
writings as an epitaph.
The following epitaphs were used by historical figures on their own headstones.
They express poignant feelings and thoughtful images.
· "Could the grave his soul comprise, Earth would be richer
than the skies." (John Donne)
· "Here lies one whose name was writ in water." (John Keats)
· "Write me as one that loves his fellow men." (James
Henry Leigh Hunt)
· "Goodnight, dear heart, goodnight, goodnight." (Olivia
Susan Clemens, daughter of Mark Twain)
· "Home is the sailor, home from the sea, and the hunter from
the hill." (Robert Louis Stevenson)
· "Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, I'm
free at last." (Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.)
The words of great men and women can be inspiring to those left behind.
They can also express in beautiful terms how your loved one felt about life.
Children and Infants
Writing an epitaph for a child or baby can be very difficult. Simple, sweet,
and sincere statements express tender love for the child. Examples include:
- "Held for a moment; loved forever."
- "So small, so sweet, so soon."
- "Ours for a little while."
- "A little soul takes wings."
- "Mommy and Daddy love you."
The love expressed on a headstone for a departed child is one of the sweetest
tributes a parent can give.
As you prepare the epitaph for your loved one's headstone, we offer
you our deepest condolences. We hope that you will find a statement that
simply and beautifully expresses your love for the departed. Please contact
us if you need help writing an epitaph.