Personalizing Your Loved Ones Resting Place: What to Keep In Mind
Personalizing a loved one's resting place is a tradition that dates back to earliest human history. Leaving mementos on top of headstones, planting flowers, and other personalized touches is a way for us to express feelings of loss, grief, and even remembrance of happy times. It is important to keep some important considerations in mind before you begin to add personal touches to a loved ones’ resting place at a cemetery.
Personal Touches and Remembrance
Why do we leave personal touches at grave sites? In many cases, the answer is simple yet no less moving: we want to process the feelings of loss that come after the death of a loved one. This is true whether the loved one passed suddenly or expectedly; whether they were old or young; and whether they were a beloved friend or family member.
Some common items and ways that people add personal touches to resting places include:
- Fresh or artificial flowers
- Grave blankets (with or without additional decorations)
- Notes, letters and photographs (secured down)
- Small flags or other decorative objects that can be left on headstone ledges
- Video systems (such as AFTR) for virtual visitations
Common Restrictions Regarding Personal Items and Decorations
Although leaving personal items and decorations at a grave site is common practice, there are some common restrictions to keep in mind before you leave anything or alter the area around your loved ones’ headstone in any way.
Most cemeteries have some type of restrictions regarding the following:
- Any decorations that light up
- Planted flowers or trees
- Decorations with ground stakes
- Fragile objects (i.e. made of glass, porcelain, etc)
- Perishable items (such as food)
- Soft objects (such as stuffed animals)
- Large free-standing objects (large banners, vases, etc)
As a general rule of thumb, cemeteries will have restrictions regarding objects that may interfere with the grounds-keeping of the cemetery. Objects which could break or blow around due to wind may make it difficult or even dangerous for the cemetery workers to keep the grounds clean. In some cases, these items may be allowed but only for a short period of time; or they may be allowed if they can be secured to the headstone.
When choosing objects or ways to personalize your loved ones’ resting place, take the time to learn the rules and restrictions at the cemetery in order to avoid interfering with the maintenance and upkeep of your loved ones’ plot.