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Simple, Meaningful, Funny? How to Choose an Epitaph for a Loved One

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When the acclaimed writer and comedian Spike Milligan passed away in 2002, the epitaph on his cemetery monument famously read, "I told you I was ill." This is a wonderful example of Milligan's rather quirky sense of humour while also being a great example of how personal an epitaph can (and probably should) be. The words on cemetery monuments can be limited to a person's name, year of birth and year of death, but you can also include a short quote or phrase that sums up the person as much as is possible. This is their epitaph, and given the importance of these words, how can you actually choose a suitable epitaph for a family member who has passed away?

No Epitaph

Remember that an epitaph isn't necessarily essential. If you cannot come to an amicable decision after consulting with other members of your family, then you might wish to avoid an epitaph altogether. They can just be a touching way to add a bit of personality and reverence to your loved one's final resting place.

Something Simple

You don't need to reinvent the wheel with your chosen words. You can keep it as simple as you like, perhaps just remarking that the grave marks the final resting place of a beloved wife and mother, or whatever the case might be. If you think an epitaph is necessary and yet can't quite think of an appropriate wording, then simplicity is going to be very helpful.

Something Meaningful

If you want to include an inspirational quote or phrase, you need to carefully consider your options. Do you know for a fact that your loved one would have likewise found the quote to be meaningful, or are you just hoping that they will? It's certainly easier if you know that your family member was in fact inspired by the words in question or, at the very least, by the figure who first spoke or wrote them.

Something Funny

It doesn't need to be serious. If you know your loved one would have appreciated something absurd or designed to baffle anyone who happens to pass by their final resting place, then this could be a great option. It doesn't even matter if it makes sense, as long as you know that your loved one would have been in on the joke, allowing them to very much have the last laugh.

Sometimes an epitaph can be obvious, and sometimes it requires careful consideration. The most important thing to think about is if your loved one would have been satisfied with your choice. Once you have decided on an epitaph, contact a monument engraving service to get started.