Here at Wilson Morgan, our business has been crafting memorials for well over 100 years.
That is a vast amount of extensive knowledge and expertise that has been passed on through several generations of stonemasons, and something that we believe leaves us well positioned to offer invaluable advice when it comes to any type of memorial – be it a lawn memorial, cremation memorial, memorial vase, or any other.
We hope that the below advice will help those who are thinking about choosing a headstone for their lost loved one as we appreciate that when the time arrives, this can be a very difficult and emotional process to navigate.
At What Point Should I Choose a Headstone?
The best piece of advice we could possibly tell you is to take your time.
Many of our customers often walk through our Penarth showroom door and quickly express the guilt they feel about taking so long in addressing an empty burial site of a loved one.
Having this shame and pressure building up and feeling forced or rushed into choosing a headstone or other memorial before you truly feel ready is something nobody deserves to experience.
There should be no time scale placed on the selection and installation of a memorial.
Wait Until You Feel Ready to Choose a Memorial
Unfortunately, a lot of people feel as though they are under pressure to choose a memorial within a certain time frame.
A subtle pressure could come from funeral directors who may have a vested interest – such as a sister company who happen to make memorials – or even from family and friends who regularly ask about a memorial and make comments or remarks that can add to your concerns about the burial plot seeming neglected.
Time Makes a Difference
Taking as much time as you require to grieve and gather your thoughts can make a truly big difference.
There is no harm in communicating this to your family and friends so that they can better understand why you want to delay the choosing of a memorial as opposed to rushing into it just a few short weeks or months after the burial.
A good example of people typically rushing into choosing and installing a memorial is when parents lose a child.
They typically feel a sense of urgency and pressure to act quickly with the process of choosing a headstone or other memorial often taking place very soon after the event.
There is no harm in browsing options at an early stage if you feel up to it. Nor is there any problem with discussing things with a memorial stonemason.
However, we would advise that you really take your time so that you can ensure the memorial is just perfect.
Why Might it Be a Bad Idea to Choose a Memorial Too Soon?
Commissioning a headstone or other memorial too soon after the death and burial of a loved one often leads to the sadness, grief, and other emotional feelings immediately felt being expressed in the inscription of the memorial.
Of course, the sadness of losing a loved one will never leave us entirely and expressing those feelings on the memorial isn’t necessarily wrong by any means, but in time our feelings do typically mellow, and we tend to naturally find a way to celebrate and cherish the life we spent with them.
This can often mean that the inscription would’ve been written quite differently had we waited instead of writing it so soon after their passing.
More Meaningful, Timeless & Lasting Memorial Inscriptions
Some people choose to deliberate over the words that should be inscribed into an epitaph for a very long time.
It’s interesting to note how our views on what an epitaph should read can change as time gradually moves on and we begin to remember our loved one’s life with appreciation and fondness.
In fact, the epitaph on some installed memorials are even re-worded several years later as the family realise that the existing epitaph doesn’t leave a true long-lasting representation of their loved one.
This is also completely fine. You can change your mind and have this reflected in the memorial as skilled memorial stonemasons can make these alterations.
People want a memorial to become a monument that carries a strong purpose with a message that is accurate, honest and deliberate.
If this takes time to achieve or requires a change in the epitaph at a later date, then so be it.
Do I have to Wait Before I can Install a Memorial on a Grave?
If you’re installing a memorial on a grave, such as a headstone, the cemetery or churchyard will likely ask you to wait several months or more before the headstone can be erected.
This is so that the grave can settle, but during this time you will also grieve and perhaps see a gradual shift in your emotions as you begin to come to terms with living your life without your lost loved one physically in your presence.
Sooner or later – and this is different for everyone – you should begin to naturally feel more comfortable with considering headstone designs and what you would like included on the epitaph.
It could be a good idea to write several versions, and every now and then re-visit them and judge whether they still resonate with your lost loved one and truly reflect how you would like the lasting legacy of their life to be represented.
Here at Wilson Morgan, our experienced memorial designers and stonemasons can bring any memorial idea to life. You can choose from our range of lawn memorials, cremation memorials, memorial vases, and full kerb sets, or discuss your bespoke memorial requirements with our family advisors. With memorial masonry experience in Penarth and the Vale of Glamorgan that stretches back to 1904, you can be sure the creation of your memorial is in the safest of hands.