When you’re picking out gravestones or headstones, it can be difficult to know exactly what you’re looking for in a material. You’ll be able to find plenty of information on the internet about the durability of certain stones and how well they will weather, as well as lots of information on prices and designs. You can even find out what sort of methods you can use to clean the headstone or gravestone once it does arrive.
What you might have some difficulty doing, however, is getting an accurate representation of the colours you can have for the material of your gravestone. Depending on the camera used, the monitor that the image was edited on and your own monitor’s settings, you can end up with colours that are wildly different from what they actually look like if you rely solely on resources available on the internet.
The solution is simple. Many companies that produce headstones and gravestones will produce brochures or colour guides, which can be delivered to your door and will have been carefully tailored to ensure the colours are an accurate representation of the stone in person. By ordering one of these brochures or colour guides, you can select a stone based on their actual colours, as well as all the other information that you will be able to find about them online.
Choosing a material for your memorial can be a difficult choice, but by making sure you are aware of all the options before committing yourself, you can guarantee that you won’t come to regret your decisions at a later date.
Over time, a grave can become discoloured and lose its original appearance through a variety of factors. When this does happen, and the discolouration has actually stained into the stone, then your best bet is to have any affected headstones attended to by a memorial care company, who can remove a tiny layer of stone from the surface, allowing clean stone underneath to be displayed instead.
However, you want to put this off for as long as possible by keeping your gravestones in good condition, and to do that, you need to take the time to ensure that the risk of discolouration of the stone is kept to a minimum.
The best way to go about this is rather simple: make sure you remove any debris that lands on the stone as soon as possible. This can be leaves, twigs, bird droppings, or anything else that could potentially fall onto the gravestone and stay there. This includes things that are leaning against the gravestone, so no piles of dead leaves or long grass should be allowed either.
You’ll also want to clean the stone of moss or other growths, as over time these can do just as good a job of staining the stone as dead leaves. This is also a fairly easy task.
What may be more time intensive is giving the stone a full wash, but this can get some of the best results out of the stone. It is a job that requires care and patience, as you may have to do multiple passes on one area, and can only use safe, weak cleaning products, and no strong brushes, as these can damage the stone.
Looking after a gravestone doesn’t have to be a difficult task. With some simple tips and advice, you can ensure that any headstones, be they marble headstones or granite headstones look great for that much longer.
With the help of this video, we hope that you can look after memorials for loved ones with a much greater degree of success, keeping them free from weathering effects, moss and mould whilst not damaging the original stonework.
Of course, you can’t fight against the weathering effects of the elements forever, and even though these tips will certainly help you maintain your gravestone far longer, they do not provide indefinite protection. Luckily, there are professional companies that can provide memorial care to a much higher standard when it becomes necessary. Not only will they clean the stone, but can also restore lettering or other details and reattach leaded pieces.
Watch the video and learn how you can care for your memorial.
There are loads of different options when it comes to adorning your headstone or gravestone with some things to really personalise it. You might expect that carving ornamentation onto a memorial is more common, but in plenty of cases, such as with a granite memorial for instance, you may well find that adornment rather than carving gives you a much greater range of options.
The problems with carving mainly sprout from the fact that granite and other hard stones can be very difficult and time consuming to carve. This can place very real limitations on the amount of work that can be done to a headstone within a certain budget. Even if money were no option, it’s simply much more difficult, close to impossible in some cases, to get the same level of detail on carvings in granite than it is in a softer stone, such as marble.
However, the adornments that you can get more than make up for the loss of carving options that granite offers, and these adornments take much more readily to granite than to softer stones as it will hold them much more easily; they are much less likely to loosen in granite headstones than they are in marble headstones.
And the range of adornments is huge! Even the colours vary massively. You can have something as simple as lettering, right up to images of doves, angels or something that the departed enjoyed immensely in life. You can even have full images cast and attached.
Although exhumations are widely considered taboo or sacrilege in most countries and cultures that bury their dead there are certain situations that result in bodies being exhumed and UK Headstonesbeing disturbed. If for example, there are suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of a person the police may try and get the body exhumed for further investigations and to try and determine the cause of death.
In some cultures, graves are opened after a certain period of death. Southern China exhumes a body after a period of so many years and the bones are removed, cleaned and dried. They are then placed in either a ceramic pot for reburial or in a smaller coffin which can then be taken home by the rest of the family.
Remains may be moved if the cemetery in question is being located somewhere else, this would only occur after local planning and religious requirements have been met. In some rare cases exhumation may occur to help with the study of dissection, gibbeting or posthumous execution like Oliver Cromwell.
Many notable individuals have been exhumed to help with study and for public display; the most prominent of these figures are mummies from Ancient Egypt. In Hong Kong where property is at a premium, government run cemeteries exhume burials after 6 years under an order. The remains are then either privately collected for cremation or reburied in an urn or a niche.
Jewish Law forbids the exhumation of a corpse and other cultures continue to have differences and conflict regarding exhumation rules.
It’s a sobering tale that left many with a tear in their eye. A young nine year old boy in America had been saving his pennies for an iPod or iTouch until the day his Dad tragically died and the family couldn’t afford any Headstones.
The boy’s father who was a keen outdoorsman and loved nothing better than camping and hunting with his son died of an abdominal aneurysm, leaving his young family devastated. Like many young families, making ends meet is a challenge each and every week so having the luxury of disposable income is a far cry from reality.
The young boy, Blake, used some of his favourite toys to mark where his father had been buried and whilst he was busy saving any penny he had to buy an iPod or iTouch, he decided that he would hold a garage sale comprising of his old toys and any money made would go towards paying for his dad’s Gravestones.
Touched by his enormous selflessness, his mother agreed to try and match what he made to contribute to the headstone. Blake contacted his local radio station to generate some interest in the garage sale and as you can imagine, was inundated with people touched by the story. People flocked from far and wide to attend and left donations. The response became overwhelming and the young family managed to raise far more money than was needed for his father’s gravestone.
All the money left after the gravestone had been bought has gone into an account and is to help Blake with his education in the future.
Fancy hearing some more bizarre funeral rituals that go beyond a traditional burial with marble headstones?
Jewish mourners will take part in a mourning ritual known as ‘sitting shiva’. This is where friends and family will go to the Shiva house and mourn for 7 days. A candle will be lit and all mirrors will be covered so they can concentrate on the mourning. This occurs immediately after the body is buried.
Hindu’s today will make their final pilgrimage to die in the city of Banaras on the Ganges River. This is where it is believed the cycle of death is broken and the soul will ascend to the world of their ancestors – Pitriloka. Over 80 funeral pyres are present along the river so the dead can be cremated although often this isn’t possible and the dead bodies will simply float down the river.
Some African tribes would fire spears and arrows over the dead to ward of evil spirits, these days a rifle is shot over the deceased and this is to mirror the age old practice.
In Japan, when a nobleman died, a whopping twenty to thirty slaves would be made to commit Hari Kari (the process of belly cutting) as a sign of respect. Friends and wives along with slaves would even be strangled in Fiji to honour the deceased.
In some areas of China they believe that the more people that attend your funeral and stand over your headstones the more luck will be bestowed on your relatives. The Chinese have even gone as far as hiring strippers to the after tears party in order for the whole event to be more popular.
In the last blog I spoke about a few funeral customs that are a tad different to our traditional memorial in a church, burial with Gravestones and then wake to follow.
In some cultures men and women are treated entirely differently when it comes to what happens when they die. The Bongas buried men with their faces to the North whilst women faced the South. The Ghonds buried their women but cremated their men and the Cochieans buried their women and suspended their men from trees.
Before 1829 in Hindu India, a widow was considered useless without her husband so was expected to lie next to him and be cremated alive. The ritual known as Sati was believed to give the woman a free passage to heaven and purify her. It was abolished, however even as late as 1981; a recorded Sati occurred with an 18 year old widow.
The Greek historian Herodotus claimed that the Calatians ate their own dead believing it to be a sacred duty of the family. Queen Artemisia is said to have even mixed the ashes of her lover with wine and drunk it.
Fantasy coffins are becoming increasingly popular in Ghana. Coffins are being carved into everything from airplanes to motor cars, cigarettes to bottles of beer. I wonder what they would do to headstones given half a chance.
Closer to home, in the Scottish highlands the deceased would be buried with a little salt and soil which would be placed on their chest. The soil was symbolic of the body decaying and becoming one with earth whilst the salt represented the soul which never decays or dies.
In England, our funeral customs are fairly traditional. Either a burial or cremation takes place. If a burial occurs, the body is left in the ground peacefully often with memorial gravestones at the head for respect. With cremations, the body is given back to the family in an urn for them to do as they wish. Other cultures and countries have some slightly more bizarre customs.
In Tibet, Buddhists believe that when you die, your soul leaves your body so the body is no longer needed to be respected or cared for. They choose to give the body back to the land by dismembering the body and leaving it high on a rock for the vultures to eat.
In Northern Vietnam the bodies are buried in the back garden of the deceased family but only after two years of it being buried in a paddy field. The body is then dug up, the bones cleaned and then re buried in the garden.
In ancient Rome, the eldest male relative would make sure he caught the last breath of the dying person.
In Madagascar, they have ceremonies called Famadihana. This is where they dig up the dead, parade the bones around the village and then in a new shroud bury the remains. The old shroud is then given to childless newlyweds who should place it on their bed to help with fertility.
There are many more so check out the next blog. It certainly makes our funeral customs and UK Gravestones seem a nice, safe choice.
So, you have decided that it is about time you behave like a grown up and do grown up things. Making a will has been dealt with and whilst you know that you are still young, fit and able, there will be a point when you will die and you would like to pre-plan your funeral to alleviate extra stress from your friends and family in their time of mourning.
From arranging whether your Memorial Headstone will be granite or marble to where you will actually be buried, that’s if you don’t choose cremation, will help friends and family immensely once you have passed away. But how do you arrange your own funeral? The first thing you should do is to sit down with friends and family. This doesn’t have to be a big deal but it is worth discussing with them the sensitive issues of what you would like and also to take into account what they may like. From where you would like to be buried (or cremated) to what you would like everyone to wear on the day (believe it or not, not everyone likes their mourners in black) it helps to discuss these matters as well as actually arranging them so it doesn’t come as a shock to them.
When you are ready, it is time to book a consultation with a funeral home that offers pre arranged funeral packages. They will often offer a free consultation where they will go through everything from how to buy memorial headstone to all the important information they’ll need to see like birth documents, wills etc.