After speaking with several people who purchased a headstone, grave marker, monument or whatever you want to call it, I asked for their thoughts on this experience, which included purchases prior to, after or during the dying process.
A few general comments consisted of; “I was surprised by the amount of choice when wanting to personalize the marker with a theme such as gardening, hockey or fishing” and “Since everything was in place years ago, all I had to do was make a call to have the date of death put on the marker”.
A few heart felt comments included; “I wish we could have bought it together instead of waiting for one of us to die”, “I don’t want my name on a tombstone before I die” and “Do I like it now and will I like it later?”
The importance of the decision process is shown with comments such as; “It took four visits to finally be able to decide what to choose”, “Your decisions are carved in stone, take your time deciding” and “I felt pressured by family to do something when I actually was not prepared emotionally to deal with this issue so soon after the death”.
This leads into who is responsible for taking care of the tombstone or monument and what happens if they cannot deal with it right away? Comments may be made that are sometimes hurtful to the person who feels they need to make a decision.
I know of monuments that took ten years or more to be put in place and what about the grave sites that have no marker at all, they are out there.
Continuing with those who have taken the steps to deal with a grave site marker; they have shared comments that describe their experiences as; healing, pleased, contented, painful, felt it was the end, unsure of self, not a nice experience, sad, heartbreaking, difficult, confusing and overwhelmed.
When asked, “What you would they have done differently?” I was told; “I would have made a different choice if I had waited”, “Nothing”, “Made sure each family member got one of their ideas on the stone”, “Waited longer”, “I would have had someone come with me to make the purchase”, “I would have put the maiden name to allow for ancestral searching” and “I wouldn’t have done it at all”.
Choices to the end!