When a loved one passes on and the funeral has been planned and concluded, it’s time to pick out the headstone for your loved one. Often, many family members have ideas about what they want on the headstone, and these may differ with other people’s plans. This is especially true in large families where the surviving spouse, siblings, children and other relatives all want a say in the way their loved one is memorialized. This can often lead to conflict and hurt feelings as some ideas are used instead of others.
One way to prevent fighting and bruised feelings is to establish one person who will make the final decision on the entire headstone design. That person will then listen to input from the other family members and use the ideas that fit into his or her overall vision for the headstone.
Another way to avoid conflict is to have a brainstorming meeting. Family members can get together, perhaps in the days after the funeral, and tell each other their ideas for the stone. This can also be done through email threads and Skype. The ideas that people like and agree with can be written down. With a list of possible epithets and design ideas, it will be easier to create a beautiful memorial.
If there is still contention over the words to be inscribed, the simplest approach may be best. Choose words that were suggested by a number of family members. There will undoubtedly be a few words that several people suggested, and using those in the headstone inscription will ensure they all feel included.
If conflict does arise, remind your family members that this is a positive action and should be bringing everyone together. It isn’t about being right or getting your way; it’s about creating something beautiful that honors the person you all care about. Maintaining a positive attitude and listening to each person’s ideas can go a long way toward bringing everyone together. Talk, listen and see the good intentions of every family member so a final decision can be reached.