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What to write on a gravestone

Updated April 17, 2017

The choice of what to put on a loved one’s gravestone can be a confusing matter at an emotionally difficult time. You want to be sure that it will adequately mark the grave and honour your loved one's memory.

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Basic Information

The basic information that should be on the gravestone is the identifying markers for deceased. You'll include the person’s name, whether you choose to use their full formal name or their nickname. Other basic information is the birth date and date of death of the deceased.


You may wish to include familial relationship markers on the deceased’s gravestone. This would note his or her status in the family with such words as “wife,” “mother,” friend,” or “brother.” Using a combination of these words on the gravestone serves as a descriptive mechanism to note some of the main events of the person’s life.

Quotes and Verse

Another choice for memorialising your loved one on a headstone is to include a quote or verse that reminds visitors of the person’s life. You can select a religious verse that was a favourite of the person or one that refers to an afterlife. Another choice is to select a verse or chorus from a favourite song or poem or a quote from a book to engrave on the gravestone.

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About the Author

Kristin Swain has been a professional writer since 1998. Her experience includes publication in various literary magazines and newspapers, such as the "Butler Herald." Swain has edited work for network television shows "NCIS" and "seaQuest." She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications from Georgia State University.

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