What To Write On A Headstone Inscription

What To Write On A Headstone Inscription

When creating a memorial, one of the most important considerations is coming up with the right message for a headstone. To leave messages, be them long or short, can hold more meaning then any other part of the memorial service. While there are no set rules, knowing what is usually inscribed on a headstone can help guide you craft a suitable message for your loved one.

Name & Date- Birth & Passing

Depending on the person, you might want to have a full name on their headstone, or put in a personal name that is known only within a family. Often displayed below this is the birth of the person and passing date of their departure.

Imagery and Symbols

To further personalise the headstone beyond names and dates, images often can convey a large meaning. Often seen on religious memorials, symbols are commonly displayed alongside writing in order to show their faith and affiliation.

For those more secular, the idea is that you can take images, from hobbies or personalities, and create an extended story for their monument. Should they have loved reading, you might try a book. If they enjoyed football, having a ball could be an appropriate symbol.


Messages or a verse are one of the primary features on a headstone. Written across a wide spectrum, the verse you choose can hold a lot of meaning for your loved one and the family who will visit the gravesite. There are a number of different ways to put words on a headstone.

Depending on the person, you might want a simple handful of words or feel a need to write a lengthy message to capture their essence. Regardless of what you choose, below will guide you in the different choices to select or refrain from when selecting how to capture your loved one’s life on a headstone.

Phrases in Words

Having a phrase can be a simple line. The most common one that will come into mind is ‘rest in peace’. While a line can be a lot more personal than this phrase, only a sentence might be the right fit for what you choose.

Poetry Lines

When you are selecting a poem, it can come from a passion or interest they once had. Whether you try and select a poem they might have loved or you opt to pick a poem that seems to embody their spirit, poetry and can be an elegant solution.

Spiritual Quotes

If your loved one practiced a certain religion or was spiritual, drawing from the wide range of spiritual texts can be a wonderful source for words. Aside from texts, many speeches given by well known spiritually developed people across time can be another way to draw out strong words.

Their Own Words

Depending on the nature of the passing, your loved one might have a phrase picked out for their own monument. Should they not have said anything to leave, you might draw inspiration from their letters, notes, or commonly said phrases that spark a feeling of good memories within you.