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Gravestone Blues

A Grave Decision for Seniors

Consumers are looking into alternative forms of the Last Rites. The traditional six feet down in a square box has been replaced by different rites, cremation, environmental burials, and other innovations to remember the deceased. People are still attached to time-honored symbols of burial, and the headstone is a memorial many want to have over their remains.

It is no secret that many folks are intrigued by headstones. They will go to cemeteries to do tombstone rubbings, and they might spend the afternoon reading the inscriptions on some of the older grave markings (some of which are witty and downright funny). Headstones themselves have experienced style changes over the years. Victorian headstones were elaborate affairs with little angels and statues adorning the grave. Modern headstones are much simpler and often are flat stone slabs that are functional and make it easier for cemetery caretakers to mow the lawn. Selecting a headstone can be difficult, and many people leave the decision up to family members who will choose after the person is dead.

Selecting a gravestone is essential because it is a lasting memorial of an individual. Those who want to have grave memorials that make a statement about them should take a little time before deciding. We want to take this opportunity to explain what goes into making this grave decision.

Well, What Exactly Is It?

Headstones go back thousands of years, and some great ones can be found on the Appian Way heading into Rome. It is a memorial to somebody who is now deceased. The headstone is a physical remembrance of a person who once lived. It memorializes a loved one, and that is why the selection needs to be a choice based less on convenience and more on the memory.

Headstone Varieties

An upright headstone is a type that you will see most often in the cemetery. It is usually less than 4 feet tall and this grave memorial is made from various materials. There is a concrete base that can hold the headstone in place under any weather conditions.

A flat headstone is becoming more common. It is set flat on the ground and comes in a variety of colors this type of headstone can be made from traditional materials and bronze is a possible option.

The Kerbed memorial is a full-length slab that will lie across the ground. An upright headstone ordinarily used with it.

The raised top flat marker is a stone block that either raises to a slant from the rear or slopes down the front face.

Headstone Designs

The choice centuries ago was reasonably straightforward: skull and crossbones or angels. These were rather grim features, but they reminded people that death occurred, and life ended. The modern design of the headstones service has evolved over the years, and some selections are a little less morbid. These include:

  • Heart Shape
  • Tear Shape
  • Half-ogee Shape
  • Book Shape (it can be an open or closed book)
  • Serpentine Shape
  • Cross Shape

Inscriptions on the Headstone

The inscriptions on headstones from 200 years ago were very elaborate messages and perhaps warnings to a person who viewed them. It is also true that some of the legends were very humorous. The inscription can be simply the name and dates of the life that once lived. However, there still are people who want to leave a brief message behind for the future to read.

The person for whom the headstone is intended needs to make his or her wishes known to the family. It can be as simple as a brief letter that asks that certain words are used on the grave marker. A person might also insist that certain symbols, such as Masonic rings, let the living know that the deceased belonged to a specific organization or group.

The full name of the deceased and the dates of life ought to be on the headstone. It is crucial to verify the name is spelled correctly and that the dates are accurate. Modern headstones can include photos of the deceased or other exceptional times in that person’s life. The words can be accentuated based on the style a person would like to have. The type of engraving on the stone, the use of any symbols, any message carved into the stone, and the font size of the letter are significant.

 Why?

The message conveys more than words alone. The personality of the deceased and what that person treasured was most proud are part of the memory left behind for others to reflect on. Headstones are nearly permanent; there are headstones in church cemeteries that are hundreds of years old. The sentiment in the imagery and the wording are the record left behind by the deceased.

The Style

The inscription on a headstone is important enough to have several styles for consideration.

These include:

  • Embossed lettering
  • Raised lead letter inscriptions
  • Incised lettering
  • Raised lead letter inscriptions
  • Religious symbols and photos
  • V – cut lettering

Granted, a buyer might simply ask the stonemason to recommend a particular style. We point out the above so that the individual is aware there are choices, and it is pertinent to ask how much the cost would be for a given style of inscription.

The Headstone’s Material

While wooden grave markers were common on the American frontier, stone is now the material of choice used for creating headstones. There is a variety for which a buyer may choose.

Limestone is a possibility but the problem with limestone is it does not stand up well to the test of time. Stormy weather will gradually wear down the stone, and the surface will be damaged from dampness over time. Other choices have a longer life to them.

Granite is for more than just buildings. It can be used for grave markers, and there are several shades of granite. The finish on the stone can make it extremely attractive, and this is an exceptionally durable material. Granite is known to stand up over decades and centuries. It also happens to be one of the cheapest types of headstone material.

Marble is stunning. It has been the stone of choice for many people of royalty and aristocracy. There are several colors of marble and this stone is aesthetically pleasing to the eye. You can find two problems with marble:  it weathers easily and does not quite have the longevity outdoors that other stone has . It also is essential to know that this stone is not cheap.

You do not have to use only stone for the funerary memorial. Modern tastes have changed, and metal is something that is an option for the right person. One of the biggest attractions of metal is it is durable.

Stainless steel is long-lasting, and, unlike other metal options, stainless steel will not rust. It remains in an eye-catching form over the years and will not weather like limestone.

Bronze is a material that will darken naturally time but does not require much maintenance. It is very resilient and has an attractive quality, but bronze is perhaps the most expensive headstone material you can use.

The Finish on the Headstone

Appearances matter, particularly when the marker is the last reminder on earth that a person existed. There is a vocabulary associated with headstones, believe it or not, and we want to acquaint you with some of the terms so you a better understanding of what the sales representative is saying when trying to sell headstone products. The finish of the headstone is an essential aesthetic trait of the product. Here are some of the ways a headstone can be finished.

  • Honed. It is used when the stone is unpolished but smooth. A honed finish is used on the sides of the headstone and is not reflective but is smooth.
  • Polished. This is the exact opposite, and the stone is shiny and smooth. It reflects and is an excellent finish for a granite headstone. The glossy finish will allow the headstone to stand out in one of the older cemeteries and naturally draw an audience. A caveat about the Polished Finish is the care and maintenance. The headstone will need regular cleaning and there will be maintenance work involved.
  • Pitched or Rock Pitch Finish. It is usually for a stone that is natural and rough. And chiseling is used to create the effect. This is the kind of finish that fits in well with older cemeteries.
  • Part – Polished Finish. Only a small section of the headstone is polished. Ordinarily, this would be the base area and where the inscription is located. It emphasizes those parts of the headstone you like to have stand out, especially the inscription.

There are other options for a finish that are possible and different tools produce the effect (e. g. Sandblasting, various chisels, ax, and flaming, etc.}. The finish is such as frosted and steeled are not the most common.

How a Headstone Is Priced

We are getting down to the bottom line of the transaction. The material is going to affect the cost and marble will be the most expensive. The stonemason is going to charge based on the number of letters, and the type of engravings will be required. It all rests with the individual stonemason because some will charge for the stone but allow for letters to be free of charge. When it comes down to counting the full cost, here are some crucial questions.

  • What kind of inscription will be on the headstone?
  • Which finish will be used?
  • What type of epitaph is going to be on the surface?
  • Which inscription is going to be used?
  • Which supplier will be approached for the purchase?
  • What material will be used for the headstone?

You can expect to spend several hundred dollars, at least for a good headstone. Whatever decorative art is used will add to the final price. The buyer must always keep in mind this is not going to be just a simple wooden cross over the grave. The headstone is a vital part of the burial invoice.

Burial Insurance Can Cover the Expenses

There are many other costs involved in the final burial. Families will quickly discover that the plot, the headstone, the funeral service, the visitation, and other activities will all come with a price. A standard funeral can cost more than $10,000, and not every estate can handle that expense.

Burial insurance is available, but it is not easy to purchase the right one. Anyone seeking to buy a policy must look at the term of coverage. A whole life insurance policy is in effect if the premium is paid, but term insurance may expire when a person reaches a certain age. The policy may have a waiting period of up to 24 months. If the individual dies before that waiting period expires, the death benefit can be almost insignificant. A person needs to have a burial insurance policy that covers all the needs. It is not easy doing that alone.

Smart shoppers will use an independent insurance agent. This professional represents several insurance companies and can provide a selection of the best policies for the buyer to choose from. The agent does all the work to investigate various policies and seeks those that best meet the client’s requirements.

We are an independent insurance agency, and we can help you buy the right type of burial insurance. We will do all the research and provide you with a selection of policies. Any questions you want to ask will be answered. Social distancing is exceptionally pertinent in these days of the COVID-19 pandemic. We practice social distancing to our clients are protected from any possible infection.

A suitable headstone is a great testimony to a person who is now deceased. Family members will visit the grave to pay respects, and proper headstone makes it easy to find the grave in a large cemetery. The memorial does not have to be expensive and does not have to be cheap or harsh looking, either. We can help anyone secure of burial insurance policy that will cover all the expenses for the kind of headstone they would like to have over the remains of the dearly missed loved one. Please feel free to contact us at your convenience to find out more about our services.