Whitney Houston’s gravestone engraved with her most famous lyrics

Whitney Houston singing

Songstress Whitney Houston has had lyrics to her famous hit ‘I Will Always Love You’ engraved onto her red granite memorial in honour of one of her biggest life achievements.

Although ‘I Will Always Love You’ was originally performed and written in 1974 by country singer Dolly Parton, Whitney Houston’s 1992 rendition took the song to new heights of fame and music legend. Whitney performed the song to be part of the soundtrack for her 1992 film The Bodyguard, a film that ended up being the second-highest-grossing film in the world in 1992, and a soundtrack that became the best-selling soundtrack of all time.

Whitney won two Grammy Awards for her performance and ‘I Will Always Love You’ has since become synonymous with the film and with Whitney’s life. Not only was the title of the song engraved on her headstone, but her affectionate nickname ‘The Voice’ was also added to the memorial.

The death of Whitney Houston came as a shock to the world, a death made all the more tragic by the fact that it was caused by accidental drowning. Some of the music industry’s biggest names, including Stevie Wonder and Alicia Keys, attended her memorial service to pay tribute to the star.

The red granite gravestone is in the shape of a teardrop and features a heart and cross design, a touching tribute to the star, and it has now been added to her resting place at the Fairview Cemetery in Westfield, New Jersey, over a year after her death.

Image Credit: nico7martin (flickr.com)

Tips for Restoring Old Marble Gravestones

 Marble headstones have long been a popular choice, with the material offering both the practicality of being hardwearing and being desirable due to its visual appearance. Gravestones from AK Lander made from the material do discolour overtime however and an extended period of weathering can result in the need for cleaning. This blog takes a look at a few simple tips for cleaning a marble headstone.

1. Cleaning solutions

The best option for a cleaning solution is a good non-ionic detergent, heavily diluted with warm water. Getting a sprayer is a good idea too as it makes it easy to apply the solution to the headstone. You’ll want to saturate the surface you’re cleaning, and it’s important to keep it wet to avoid soap streaks.

2. Scrubbing the headstone

When it comes to scrubbing and wiping the grime off, you’ll want to use a plastic scraper to remove the loose material and a soft-bristled scrub brush to shift the harder stains. Scrubbing in a circular motion helps avoid leaving unwanted marks on the stone and gives a better finish.

3. Protecting the cleaned headstone

Once you’ve finished the cleaning it’s worth applying a thin layer of calcium hypochlorite to the surface. The chemical is used as a biocide and helps prevent growth of mould or mildew. You’ll want to scrub the agent onto the stone, let it soak in for a while, then rinse off.

If you really want the beast results, however, it’s often best to get in the experts. Professional services are able to make a headstone look like new and if it’s beyond repair they can help advise on replacements.


German boy gets gravestone after campaign

A brave German boy who died after battling a brain tumour has finally been granted his wish, with a gravestone erected above his resting place which celebrates his favourite football team.

The news comes after the boy’s parents locked horns in a dispute with a Catholic church in the city ofDortmundabout the nature of his gravestone. Shortly before he passed away, nine year old Jens Pascal told his mother he wanted a gravestone to mark his favourite football team, emblazoned with the club crest of Borussia Dortmund. This request was made even more special when Jurgen Klopp, the manager of Borussia Dortmund, came to visit Jens at his bedside shortly before his death.

It became a problem when the Churchof Maria Heimsuchungin the city refused to grant the wish, stating that the gravestone did not comply with the rules which ban non-Christian inscriptions and images on all gravestones. The decision sparked an outcry with football fans of Borussia Dortmund and other teams which play in the Bundesliga, the top flight of German football.

Fans took to the Facebook page ‘The Last Wish of Jens Pascal’ to portray their anger, with over 100,000 messages of disgust and outrage pointed towards the church. The church have overturned their original decision and said they will be happy to reach a compromise, with the gravestone to feature a sculpture of a ball on the ground rather than on the top, meaning that Jens can now rest in peace.

The death of a loved one is always an incredibly difficult period for the whole family, with all efforts made into taking time to ensure they have the perfect send off with dignity and respect. If you ever have to deal with the death of a young family member, children’s gravestones will serve as a lifelong reminder after the funeral, offering a constant place for remembrance.

Image Credit: azulgrana.fubolowo.pl (Wikimedia Commons)

Discover the next generation of headstones: QR codes

Traditional memorials are going digital with the addition of interactive headstones, helping to make remembering a loved one a different yet equally touching experience.

UK gravestones could soon typically have Quick Response (QR) codes etched on to headstones and, once scanned by a smartphone, the code can lead to information about the loved one on a webpage.

The smartphone user can see a profile of the person including pictures, videos, a biography, and tributes left in memory of the deceased. Once given access to the website, users can also add their own tributes as well. People who have already used the QR code system on the memorials of their loved ones have rated it highly, and one woman even said that it helped make a hard grieving process a bit easier as it was something her husband would have been very excited by.

As well as on headstones, the QR codes can be put on memorials and tribute bench plaques, making them a really wonderful way to keep the memories of loved ones alive in the eyes of the public.

The etched QR codes will benefit from regular memorial care in order for them to continually work, but this can easily be integrated into the regular cleaning that all granite and marble headstones should undergo a couple of times a year.

Image credit: Paul Wilkinson (flickr.com)

How best to photograph a gravestone










Taking care of any family gravestones which have been left in your care is clearly an extremely important duty. We at AK Lander know that your relationship with the deceased does not end once a burial has taken place, and many people like to take fitting photographs of their loved ones’ memorials, in order to make sure they have another form of lasting tribute at hand. This is especially true if those in question live far away and are not able visit the graves they are responsible for looking after as often as they would like.

Perhaps the most vital thing you can remember when planning how best to capture a record of a gravestone through photographs is to demonstrate patience. Weather must be fine and light conditions appropriate in order for the perfect shot to be taken. If you do not wait for an opportune moment and instead compromise when it comes to either of these factors, your pictures will suffer accordingly. One of the most effective ways of improving the light in any memorial photo, incidentally, is to place a mirror – ideally a full-length, plastic one that is longer than the grave – close to the headstone in a way that reflects sun onto the carving.

It is also a good idea to take a number of pictures highlighting the grave from different aspects and angles. An image taking in the entire cemetery, for example, as well as ones which focus solely on your loved ones’ memorial, with another showing it centred around two or three others in the immediate vicinity, will add an important sense of context.

For more tips on memorial care and to purchase a high quality gravestone, pay a visit to AK Lander’s website or give us a call today. The priority for our experienced, expert team of professionals is to provide advice, assistance and support to our clients; going through us will guarantee that your headstone is durable, and that the service you receive is unparalleled in terms of dedication and sensitivity.

Image credit: Christopher Goodband (flickr.com)

Gravestone Colour Guides

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.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Avicennasis3000.

Keeping Your Gravestone Free from Stains

Image courtesy of Flickr user Wystan.

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.

Tips for Keeping your Gravestone Clean

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.

What Will You Have Added to 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.

Granite – The Noble Stone

I feel that the first thing which should be addressed in this blog post is that I am not referring to granite as noble in the scientific sense. Granite is, of course, durable, but it does not approach a level of low-reactivity that would qualify it for the term. As a metaphor for its longevity, however, it is useful. The main definition of granite as noble here is to describe the dignity and solemnity that a granite memorial or granite headstones bring to a cemetery.

Although granite is now available in a variety of colours, colours which can be emphasised through careful smoothing and polishing, they still tend to have a darker tone than other stone used for memorials. The typically dark colours of granite are still prevalent in cemeteries through theUKas well, lending them the more respectful, dignified looks that colourful patchworks of gravestones lack.

The ability of granite to stay true to its original carving so much longer than, say, marble also contributes to its appeal. Where as softer stones will wear away over time, losing their detail and colour, granite will remain in its intended form much longer. It will begin to degrade eventually, of course, but not before it has seen out other gravestones created at the same time. This means that the solemn, unflinching dignity of a granite memorial goes on and on and on.

You should also recognise that even when wear and tear does take place, granite memorials remain excellent gravestones. Though the details of carvings and even names may disappear from their surface, they are indisputably recognised as the marker of a grave.

Picture courtesy of Flickr user he-ryan.