With limited space on a headstone, it can be overwhelming knowing what words to write. While there are no specific rules for what you can write, most will follow a general pattern. Below is a general guide of the various phrases, verses, quotes, and excerpts that are common on headstone inscriptions.
If you need advice about the different styles and options related to engraving, please check out our inscription section.
Have a budget in mind and let your monumental mason know so they can show you different options in that price range
To get an idea of what headstone you like, have a look through our gallery which contains a large selection of designs
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In memory of
In loving memory of
In ever loving memory of
Rest in peace
Name of the Deceased
The full name of the deceased is usually written at the top of the headstone. If appropriate, nicknames can also be included for friends and family.
Date of Birth and Death
After the deceased’s name, the date of birth and death is the next bit of a headstone.
Relationship with the deceased
Usually included on the inscription is the immediate family, which mentions their relationship to the deceased. Some examples include:
Love you always
Once met, never forgotten
Loved and remembered
Love you always
Sleep for eternity
Apart from the basic information listed above, there are a number of options for crafting a suitable message.
Below are some quotes made by notable people that are appropriate for headstones.
“Heaven, the treasury of everlasting joy” – Shakespeare
“Where there is much light, the shadows are deepest” – Goethe
“Death is the golden key that opens the palace of Eternity” – Milton
“Tears are often the telescope by which men see far into heaven” – H.W. Beecher
“Earth hath no sorrow that heaven cannot heal” – Moore
“The end and the reward of toil is rest” – James Beattie
Earth has one gentle soul less, Heaven has one special angel more.
In the garden of happy memories, It is always summer.
You are gone, I remain
Until the day we meet again
Her life a beautiful memory
Her absence a silent grief.
Those we love don’t go away,
They walk beside us everyday.
God took you from our home
But never from our hearts.
So much to live for,
So much to do
So many dreams
Then God chose you
You taught us many things in life
That we would have to do
But you never taught us how to cope
with the hurt of losing you.
He shall receive in the world to come, eternal life.
May the journey on your next adventure be as joy-filled as your time with us.
Sleep on now, and take your rest. Matthew 26:45
He that endureth to the end shall be saved. Matthew 10:22
I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead yet shall he live. John 11:25
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. John 14:1
…All things work together for good to them that love God. Romans 8:28
…Be thou faith unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. Revelation 2:10
Ours for a little while
Sleep, my little one, sleep
Still loving, still living, still ours
Tread carefully, here lies our world
Held for a moment, loved for a lifetime
You touched our lives for the briefest of moments, yet you will stay with us forever
O blessed little sunbeam, O child of love and prayer, We give thee to the keeping, Of the tender Shepherd’s care.
Those who we have held in our arms for a little while, we hold in our hearts forever.
Sleep my beautiful angel on your pillow in the sky, Angels are forever so we’ll never say goodbye.
An angel in the book of life wrote down my baby’s birth, and whispered as she closed the book, too beautiful for earth.