Choosing the Perfect Headstone
As someone who had to choose a headstone for my recently departed, beloved grandfather, only one thing was on my mind. What would have made him happy? My grandfather lived a long life, until the age of 91. He emigrated three times in his life, first from a small village in Belarus to Moscow, then from Moscow to California, and at 90 years old from California to Israel. As I was choosing his final resting place in Israel, I recalled his one cheeky request — "Don't bury me next to my mother-in-law!" He would be almost 7500 miles away from her resting place. The second thing I did was pull up a photo of the headstone he had chosen for his own parents — a dark grey beautiful granite, which my mother said he was very proud of. When a loved one leaves no special instructions or any indication of their preferences, it may serve as a good clue to check what they had chosen for their own loved ones. Next, it is important to consider any religious or cultural association your loved one had. Every culture has their own intricacies in honoring the departed and if you are unsure, it is best to consult a priest, rabbi, imam or other leader in your community. What happens if your family is multi-lingual or had immigrated to a place with different traditions? There is a middle way between following the conventions of the cemetery you have chosen and making your loved one's headstone personalized. Consider a bi-lingual commemoration so that those relatives who are not fluent in the local tongue can recognize the more commonly-used birth name of the departed. If you are still as indecisive as I am, there are thousands of examples of beautiful headstones online. Ask the local headstone maker for their website or social media account and find an example that appeals to you and represents the one who will be laid to rest under it — and always remember that as the body returns to the earth, the soul is forever in your heart. Once your special headstone is put up, you can always keep an eye on it from anywhere in the world, with AFTR. AFTR's cameras and app provide a way to virtually visit a loved one's resting place and stay connected forever.