Why Memorialize?

Placing a memorial for an individual within a cemetery serves both practical and emotional purposes. A memorial helps to document and record of an individual’s life, connecting visitors and mourners to both the past and future. A memorial also helps mourners to cope with loss during the grieving process. The acts of designing, erecting, and dedicating the memorial are impactful acts of remembrance that help mourners in their grieving process to move from a life with an individual’s physical presence to preserving one’s memory. The act of memorialization has been a deeply engrained part of most human cultures for millennia.

Designing a Memorial

The first step in designing a memorial is to identify the type(s) of memorialization, monuments, and headstones allowed by the cemetery. Most cemeteries have Rules and Regulations that governing the type, size, construction, and placement of memorials. Restrictions may be cemetery wide or may apply to specific burial sites.

Before proceeding, the cemetery must be asked the following questions:

  • What type(s) of memorials are permitted at this burial site? Granite, bronze, stone, etc.?
  • Size(s) of memorials are permitted at this burial site?
  • Are there any other regulations or restrictions at this burial site? Color, language, imagery, etc.?

Once the cemetery requirements have been identified, the design process includes:

  1. Choice of memorial material (granite, bronze, stone)
  2. Selection of general memorial design (traditional, modern, religious, simple)
  3. Decide upon the most appropriate biographical and epitaph language for the memorial
  4. Identify artistic and meaningful emblems to be included as part of the memorial
  5. Contract with a Memorial Company or with the Cemetery for the final creation and permanent installation of the memorial

Depending on the type of memorial, trained professionals, including design consultants or memorial counselors may be engaged to provide a memorial consultation. Professional guidance may be valuable to ensure that personal expectations and specifications are satisfied. Some cemeteries have memorial specialists on staff.

Cost of Memorials

Depending on the type of memorial selected the cost may vary significantly based upon a number of factors including material, location, artistic features, and size. During the planning process, an individual may want to consider and evaluate the cost of the memorial, installation, and perpetual care.

When selecting a memorial, it is important to shop for good value bearing in mind that the memorial quality, craftsmanship, and durability must be able to survive for hundreds of years. The lowest cost option may not always be the best choice if the memorial cannot serve its purpose as a ‘permanent’ physical remembrance.

Ancillary Information about Memorials

Many modern cemeteries offer a selection of digital memorial options to complement the physical gravesite memorialization. Accessible instantaneously worldwide, a virtual memorial allows family and friends to remember when they are not physically on the cemetery grounds.