People planning their own funerals has become quite a trend. There’s a feeling that the burden of grief on your nearest and dearest when you pass away is more than enough for them to cope with. Having to organise a funeral is something they could do without.
But what about taking things to the next logical step and buying your own memorial stone before you die? In many ways, this is actually a more sensible idea than pre-planning a funeral. While you might be able to write an order of service for yourself and pay for a funeral director’s services, what you can’t do in life is book a venue for a wake and send out invitations. There’s still plenty for your loved ones to do.
Pre-ordering a memorial stone, on the other hand, is far more straightforward. You can commission a headstone or plaque at any time, and it can either be made in advance and kept in storage, or you can arrange for the mason to make it when they get notification from your relatives.
So, what are the benefits?
Ease the financial burden on your relatives
Memorial stones don’t come cheap. Many people worry that the cost of a funeral alone will put their family under duress - a key reason why they choose to pay for a funeral service themselves in advance. Throw in a headstone or memorial plaque, and expenses do start to mount up.
If you have expressed your wish to be buried, or you’d like a commemorative plaque to be put up at a crematorium or some other special place, you may feel it’s your responsibility to help out to see that your wishes can be fulfilled. Paying for your own memorial stone, whether commissioning it yourself or leaving funds for the purpose, is certainly one way you can make sure your family is not left in a difficult predicament.
Get the memorial you really want
Another key reason why you might choose to buy your own memorial is to ensure you get something to your tastes. Some people might argue that, once you’re gone, you’re no longer in a position for such things to bother you. But for others, the idea of having a legacy they approve of is important. In fact, to some people, just knowing what kind of memorial will be left in their name is enough to inspire them to commission their own.
It might be that you have a very specific type of design in mind. It might be that you are very taken with a particular material - a rare coloured marble or granite, perhaps. It might be that you have strong feelings, one way or the other, about religious symbolism. Or you could really want your name to be associated in perpetuity with a favourite poem or quotation which you would like engraved on your memorial. All of these are good reasons to set out to get the monument you would like.
Choose the right place for your memorial
There are stories of grief-stricken family members facing the frustration and indignity of having memorials they have already paid for refused by the cemetery where their loved one is interred. There are no definitive rules and regulations for what you can and cannot have on a gravestone, it depends on each individual location. Suffice to say, some places are more conservative than others. If you have your heart set on being buried in your local churchyard, but also have an unusual idea in mind for a memorial stone, then it is worth you taking the initiative and finding out what is and isn’t allowed. If you really have your heart set on a particular monument or inscription, then it might be necessary to seek an alternative option for where it could be located.
Kenward & Son is a family-run firm of monumental & architectural stone masons based in West London. To find out more, visit our site here.