Headstone Epitaphs and Verses

by admin on March 18, 2013

Unfortunately, one day we must all pass on, and when that happens to a loved one it can be a very traumatic and upsetting experience. However, although they are no longer with us in body, they are still very much a part of our lives and live on through our memories.

One way in which we can preserve the memories of our loved ones is through the epitaph written upon their headstones. An epitaph is a short text in commemoration of the deceased, which will forever capture something of their life and personality. It is a last chance to communicate to the world the significance and very essence of a loved one. This article aims to provide a basic guide for choosing an appropriate epitaph.

Words of Comfort

As bereavement is a difficult thing for us all, sometimes it is best to choose an epitaph which acts as a statement of comfort, to assure our hearts that although a loved one may be physically absent, they are still very much present in spirit. This can provide on-going reassurance and comfort for the times when you visit their resting place.

Words of Accomplishment

An epitaph is also an opportunity for the deceased to make their final mark on this earth, and perhaps a verse commemorating their achievements in life may be appropriate. If someone has lived out a selfless life, devoted to community service and helping others, it may be nice to acknowledge them in this.

Equally if they have achieved much in their life, and their ability was an essential part of their personality, for example, as can be found with some accomplished musicians, it may be relevant to make mention of this in an epitaph.

The epitaph of Mel Blanc includes a famous quote of his, which is quite poignant, but it also features a commemoration of his achievement as a legendary voice actor.

Bible Verses

For those of a religious persuasion, a favourite biblical verse of the deceased makes a suitable epitaph. Or if they have moved on to a better place, they might’ve liked to use their epitaph as an opportunity to assure others of a hope that endures even after death: by quoting a relevant bible passage, this can be excellently done.


Although biblical verses can be poetic, sometimes a literary poem can be a little more direct with the message you wish to communicate. Thus a short poem can serve as a great, thought-provoking memento of a person’s life. Also, if the deceased had a favourite poem, a particularly nice extract from it would make for a good epitaph.

A thought-provoking poem can be a great parting note to leave.

Poignant/Humorous Epitaphs

Death and bereavement is a delicate issue, and you certainly want anything commemorating a deceased one to be respectful. Yet if a loved one really had a positive outlook on life and could always put a smile on your face and make you laugh, maybe a respectful epitaph wouldn’t truly honour their memory. Whereas “I told you I was ill” as is found on Spike Milligan’s tombstone, could serve as a brilliant reminder of the great sense of humour the deceased always displayed.

Sometimes the best epitaphs can be the lightly humorous ones, they can really stand out, and in the context of an epitaph can be incredibly poignant and quite moving.

Simple Statement

It can be an incredibly hard task to try and find an appropriate sentence to represent the entirety of a loved one, indeed encapsulating a person’s personality in one sentence is practically impossible. Therefore, sometimes, it’s best to stick with something simple. For example, “a loving father and gracious husband” can be an appropriate epitaph for a someone who was a real family man. Or perhaps “a dear friend who will be sadly missed” are both fine examples of memorials of distinction.


Epitaphs come in all kinds of different formats and styles, yet they are a great way of commemorating a loved one. However you decide to do it, one thing remains consistent: an epitaph is a meaningful way to give respect to a deceased loved one.

Article by Rob Holman

Image Credits: Wikipedia, and Svadilfari

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: